Woolwich Memorial Centre vandalism cleanup cost over $100K

Mayor of Woolwich Todd Cowan says he was taken aback when he walked into the community centre New Year's Day: 'It was just stunning the amount of devastation and damage'

Mayor of Woolwich says damage was 'stunning'

A spree of intense vandalism at the Woolwich Memorial Centre is expected to cost over $100,000 to clean up, according to Todd Cowan, the mayor of Woolwich.

Waterloo Regional Police say vandals broke into the community centre New Year's Eve smashing windows, spraying fire extinguishers and destroying electronics throughout the building. They even smashed an aquarium and threw the fish into the community centre's pool.

"It was just stunning the amount of devastation and damage here," said Cowan while at the community centre Thursday. 

Cowan said repairing the building will be expensive but he plans to have things back to normal as soon as possible. 

"It's a community gathering place so a lot of people are shocked," he said. "A lot of people are ticked off about it but we're at it today and it's not going to take long." 

Darin Drake is an asset recovery and cleaning system manager at Winmar, the company charged with cleaning up the community centre. He said he was disappointed to know people would do this to a shared, communal space. 

"The thing that really got me was the veterans memorial and how they smashed the glass out of that," Drake said. 

Drake says this is the worst vandalism he has ever seen, and that replacing the broken windows alone will cost tens of thousands of dollars. 

Police are investigating the incident and believe the vandals got into the building through a window in the senior's centre. Although there were no security cameras in the building, police say they have received a number of tips from the community. 

"Our detectives are actively following up several leads from the community," said Staff Sgt. Shaena Morris. "They're encouraged by the strength of the leads and are looking forward to making an arrest in the near future." 

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Waterloo Regional Police at 519-650-8500 extension 6399 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. 


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