The City of Cold Lake is facing an ongoing issue of vandalism at the Energy Centre, causing disruptions and safety concerns for both staff and visitors of the recreation facility.  

Mayor Craig Copeland is frustrated by the repeated acts of vandalism and spoke out about the challenges the community is facing.  

The most recent incident, which happened on Jan. 26, led to the closure of the Rock Wall elevator due to safety concerns resulting from vandalism. This followed a previous announcement on Nov. 17, 2023, where the second-floor bathroom was shut down for similar acts of vandalism.  

“It’s very frustrating, a lot of the vandalism does happen during the day, but it also happens at night when other users are in the building,” says Copeland. 

The mayor highlighted the impact of vandalism on individuals with mobility issues and seniors, particularly with the closure of elevators.  

“The vandalism is just a lack of compassion for those who are mobility challenged. It does impact a lot of our people who have mobility issues and seniors.” 

The mayor condemned the lack of respect for public property and the efforts invested by the staff in maintaining the Energy Centre. He expressed his disappointment, stating, “The bottom line is that it’s just a total lack of respect for property, and that building is just gorgeous for a small community like ours. The staff put their heart and soul into maintaining that building.” 

In response to the escalating issue, Copeland hinted at the City’s intention to take matters into their own hands in the coming months. While specific details were not disclosed, he assures residents that the City is exploring different courses of action to address the problem effectively. “We’re looking at different options, we just haven’t come public with it yet, but we will shortly be introducing some of our thoughts.” 

Acknowledging the need for accountability, Copeland discussed the challenges of identifying and prosecuting vandals. He emphasized the importance of charging and prosecuting these crimes more effectively, stating, “Accountability needs to be magnified, we need to really start looking at actually charging and prosecuting these crimes in a much better fashion than we are right now.” 

He also addressed the financial implications of dealing with the acts of vandalism, acknowledging the ongoing efforts of the City’s Chief Administrative Officer and staff in developing a proposal.  

“It’s really a costly venture,” says the mayor. He estimated the topic could come before council mid-February or at a March council meeting. 

By Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 09, 2024 at 14:25

This item reprinted with permission from   Lakeland This Week   Bonnyville, Alberta

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