British Columbia

Vandals wreak havoc on Aquatic Centre in Fernie, B.C.

RCMP are investigating after vandals smashed windows with rocks and bricks at the Fernie Aquatic Centre leaving "extensive damage" in the East Kootenay city.

Pool may have to be drained to clear broken glass from smashed windows

The Fernie Aquatic Centre, pictured, along with a nearby skate park were the target of vandals Sunday night. (Photo by Elk Valley RCMP)

Elk Valley RCMP are investigating after vandals smashed windows with rocks and bricks at the Fernie Aquatic Centre in southeastern B.C., leaving "extensive damage."

"Shards of glass extensively littered the interior and may have also polluted the swimming pool," said Cpl. Dan Hay in a statement.

The vandals struck Sunday night and police in the East Kootenay city arrived on the scene Monday morning.

Shards of glass shards from the smashed windows popped some large inflatable toys used for open swim at the aquatic centre.

About seven panes of glass were smashed, leaving shards of glass int the pool and damaging large inflatable toys, said Brett Logan, parks and facilities manager for Fernie.

Vandals also threw rocks through some of the doors and a neighbouring bike jump park was damaged.

"We're still finding things throughout the town that have been kicked over and smashed and that sort of thing," Logan told the CBC's Blaine Gaffney.

Police said rocks and bricks were used to smash windows at the aquatic centre.

"Some of the sheds were broken into. Some tools were use to do some of the damage and now we're just sort of dealing with the beginning stages of how much it's going to cost and what's going to be necessary."

Pool closure

The pool at the complex will remain closed until officials can determine if all of the glass has been removed.

The Aquatic Centre is hoping to re-open in time for a swim event scheduled for Wednesday, but that won't be possible if the pool needs to be drained.

"We're just inquiring with the Lifesaving Society on whether or not they recommend draining the main pool, which in that case ... [the] downtime would be significantly longer," said Logan.

It takes about a week to drain the pool, fill it back up, re-balance the chemicals and heat it to a proper swimming temperature, he said. For now, staff members are cancelling swim lessons and classes.

"We're obviously getting some quotes and looking at replacing the glass and doors immediately. In the meantime, we might have to live with some plywood up over top if we open up sooner than later."

Repeated vandalism

This isn't the first major case of vandalism the city has faced recently. 

"We've been experiencing quite a bit of damage over the summer. Usually it tones down when school's back in, but we've had trees snapped ... in half, we've had lots of broken windows, outhouses being tipped over [and] we've had two sets of public washrooms completely destroyed," said Logan.

RCMP are asking anyone with information to contact their Fernie office at 250-423-4404 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. 

With files from Blaine Gaffney

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