Vandals can’t sour views on community youth

Cowichan Lake Community Garden officials have the perfect outlook.

Cowichan Lake Community Garden officials have the perfect outlook.

On Friday, April 15, several acts of vandalism took place at the garden.

A resident had reported seeing three young boys riding bicycles within the garden, which is surrounded by a deer fence.

The passerby told the children to leave and then phoned a director to report the incident.

Susan Lowe, who has a plot at the garden and whose son took the call, detailed what she saw:

“They had knocked over potted plants, plants that were waiting to be planted, they were sort of strewn about,” said Lowe. “There was an ornament—sort of like a sundial—that was knocked over. The hose was left on. There were bike tracks all through the garden, you could see the tracks where they had been riding all through it.”

Basically, no substantial harm, although had the hose been left running, the damage could have been much worse.

The police were notified, but could not find the youngsters.

Lowe said she was saddened by the incident because of the great amount of work put into the garden, which she noted belonged to  “everybody” in the community.

RCMP Sgt. Wes Olsen hit the nail on the head when he called the incident a “common lack of respect.”

Exactly how stupid do you have to be to think an act like this is amusing or fun?

“The unfortunate part of this incident is there’s a skate park just up the hill from the garden,” said Olsen.

He added there are plenty of other areas to ride bikes.

“Why anyone feels it’s necessary to ride in amongst a community garden that people put a lot of time and effort into for the benefit of the community…”

Only the kid who did the vandalizing can answer that question.

Someone knows who they are and it’s important they explain themselves – or show some contrition.

They could be issued a verbal warning, the matter could be referred to the youth justice system, or charges could even be brought.

Cara Smith, spokeswoman for the community garden, was “disappointed” by the incident but had a great perspective.

She said she didn’t want to focus on the negative or characterize all young people as trouble-makers or vandals.

She pointed to partnerships with the Girl Guides, Boy Scouts and the leadership class at Lake Cowichan School.

“There’s also a lot of positive with the youth in town,” she said.

She’s right. The foolish actions of a few cannot outweigh the positive contributions of many.

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