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Vandals hit St. Thomas' Elevated Park just weeks after opening
St. Thomas Ont. - Less than a month after its grand opening, vandals have struck St. Thomas' Elevated Park.
"We've had tagging done on some of the artwork and some of the sidewalks," says Board Member Joe O'Neill. "We also had damage to light structure at the far west end".
The light structure was an 11 piece installation titled "The Faraway Nearby". Artist Christine Dewancker's work was spray painted with the words "Inbred", and "Pride". One of the pieces was toppled and the light was broken. Dewancker was upset to learn of the damage.
"It's really devastating...I think the repairs are going to be extensive," says Dewancker.
"Concrete is porous material, so the paint will have penetrated the first layer. There are methods to to peel off that first layer and I'm hopeful that it can be restored".
O'Neill says that was one of the favourite new additions to the park.
"It sets off the whole park. When you go up and down the road to Port Stanley it just jumps right out at you".
The park's hours are dawn til dusk, so going forward any one on this bridge after that time, will be charged with trespassing. St. Thomas Police are now investigating.
"We have ramped up focus patrol in evenings, and we have the COPS (Citizens on Patrol) program and they also are going to attend throughout the night," says Sgt. Mike Buttinger of the St. Thomas Police Service.
Dewancker understands the nature of displaying public art outdoors. If her project is restored, she will take measures to coat the concrete which will reduce risk in the future. For now, she's still coming to grips with the vandalism..
"I don't just feel saddened for my work, but for the entire community... It's horrible".