Torched playground leaves district $10,000 bill

Little Mountain elementary was the second playground in a month hit by arson.

A weekend arsonist slapped the Chilliwack school district with $10,000 in damages to Little Mountain elementary’s playground.

The playground’s spinner apparatus was torched on the weekend and was not salvageable.

Although the playground is covered under insurance, through the School Protection Plan, a B.C. government agency, the deductible is $10,000 – almost the cost of the spinner itself.

This is the second school playground arson in a month; last month Watson elementary’s playground was also hit at another $10,000 deductible to the school district’s budget.

And because both arsons occurred over the weekend, maintenance crews had to be brought in on overtime to remove the pieces and ensure the area safe for students prior to Monday morning.

“Vandalism is a part of doing business unfortunately,” said Gerry Slykhuis, School District 33 secretary treasurer.

A lesson the young students at Little Mountain elementary don’t yet understand.

Monday morning students were stunned and upset that someone would purposely damage something they play on, something their school community worked so hard to acquire, said school principal Steve Klassen.

“It didn’t make sense to them.”

Little Mountain elementary spent three years fundraising for the playground that was only just installed last year.

“In a word, from my perspective, it’s disappointing,” said Klassen. “I know it will get rebuilt, but I don’t want the kids to see that. It’s been such a positive gathering place not only during school hours, but the community really comes in after hours too.”

kbartel@theprogress.com

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