Staff at the Children First Society in Inuvik say its facility has been the target of ongoing vandalism.
Three of the facility’s solar panels have been chipped, building windows broken, and garbage continually littered around the playground in the past month, according to executive director Patricia Davison.
“Certainly, the children notice it,” she said. “They’re noticing it when they go out to play and there’s garbage in their play spaces, and they go to look out the window and the windows are cracked and broken.
“They’re expressing how it’s frustrating, and it upsets them to see that their space is being used in that way.”
While there are security cameras set up around the perimeter of the premises, Davison said that hasn’t deterred vandals. Staff must often clean up glass and other debris from the yard in the morning so the children can play safely, she said.
The playground – which is accessible to the public – was built in 2013 after the Children First Society won $50,000 from the Aviva Community Fund. Prior to that, the organization and local community held fundraisers to support the project.
“It’s a safe place for families to come and to visit, and especially now with needing to physically distance … it’s become even more important to have those safe meeting spaces,” Davison said. “There was a lot of effort by the children and the youth, and now to see it so disrespected – it’s hard for everybody.
“It’s taking more resources that could be used to create something more for the children, but we’re having to use resources to fix up things that have been vandalized.”
Davison said staff have been discussing the issue with the children and teaching them about the importance of respecting spaces.
The organization this week put out a plea on its Facebook page to town residents.
“The recent vandalism makes it harder for us to keep this space open to the community,” the post reads. “We therefore ask that families, mentors and community members remind ourselves and everyone how important the centre is for supporting families, employing people, and building our community.
“Let’s all respect the centre and the playground, so it can be a safe place for children to play and learn.”