Nova Scotia

New Ross school's soccer field torn up in late night joyride

People in the community of New Ross, N.S., are reeling after vandals on a joyride tore up the school's soccer field last weekend.

'I think it hit the community's hearts more than anything'

The soccer field and track at New Ross Consolidated School were torn up by a vehicle last weekend. (Jennifer Burgess/Facebook)

People in the community of New Ross, N.S., were disheartened after vandals on a joyride tore up the school's soccer field last weekend.

Jennifer Burgess, a soccer coach and mother of three, first noticed the damage to the field and surrounding track Monday morning while dropping her kids off at the New Ross Consolidated School.

"There's quite a few marks where it's like they kind of gave 'er and then pulled the emergency brake and spun," Burgess said. "I would say there really wasn't much of the field that was not touched."

Burgess said she believes the damage happened late Sunday night or early Monday morning after an evening of heavy rain. In some parts of the field, the vehicle's tires left track marks nearly 20 centimetres deep.

'Hit the community's hearts'

She took photos of the damage and posted them to social media on the Buy & Sell New Ross Facebook group, where the post has been shared nearly 500 times.

"I think it hit the community's hearts more than anything because everybody in New Ross, I would say at least 80 per cent of New Ross, they were born and raised and still live in New Ross, so they played on that field 30 years ago, 40 years ago," Burgess said.

New Ross resident Jennifer Burgess says she hopes the culprits will come forward and help repair the damage. (Jennifer Burgess/Facebook)

The Facebook post spurred many community members to offer their time and machinery to get the field back in shape so the kids could get back to their soccer season. But before Burgess could organize any effort, the school board had the field repaired.

"It was really nice to see that the community was like, 'you know what, we can help fix that.' And that's what New Ross is all about — everybody banding together and helping each other out."

Surveillance cameras

Burgess says despite very visible skid marks, the field is good enough to be played on once again, although the school board is going to have to reassess the field in the spring to do proper repairs.

"I would love for said culprit to come up and be like, 'you know what, it was me and I'm sorry,' " she said. 

The school does have video surveillance, but Burgess said the camera couldn't see the far end of the parking lot where the vehicle entered the field, so tracking down the person or persons responsible isn't easy.

Lindsay Willow, the school's principal, said she reported the incident to police and the school is looking at measures to improve security.

"[The school] will look at installing a camera towards the field this year, as unfortunately this has happened each of the past three years," Willow said.

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