The play structure that was burned down in Centennial Park in Duncan on May 26 may not be replaced until the end of the summer.
In the meantime, Duncan’s CAO Peter de Verteuil told council at its meeting on June 5 that the playground area has been made safe, and the water park and the remainder of Centennial Park remains open to the public.
He said the city’s public works department is in the process of obtaining quotes for replacing the playground equipment that was destroyed in the blaze, which is considered by the RCMP to be an act of arson, that took place in the early morning hours.
“The timeline for replacing the equipment could be several months,” de Verteuil said.
The Duncan Fire Department and the RCMP responded to calls about the fire at approximately 2:40 a.m. on May 26 and found the playground structure fully engulfed in flames.
RCMP have asked for the public to help identify who might be responsible for the blaze.
People who have cameras on their properties that may have captured people walking in the area between 2 a.m. and when police responded that morning have been asked to contact the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522.
Mayor Michelle Staples asked de Verteuil when what’s left of the destroyed playground structure will be removed.
She said she visited Centennial Park after she returned from a trip to Toronto and found the park much quieter than usual.
“I think that having (the burned-out structure) gone would open up the park again and people would feel more comfortable being there,” she said. “It was quite a shock being in Toronto and getting the call that part of the playground had been on fire. It was not something that I was anticipating.”
De Verteuil said staff would have to check with the RCMP before the structure can be removed.
“We want to make sure we wouldn’t be tampering with anything they might need during the investigation, but I don’t think it will be too long before we can remove the damaged structure,” he said.
Insp. Chris Bear, the head of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment who was at the council meeting, said the police no longer require the damaged playground equipment to stay in place.