A gathering place for Cambridge Bay’s elders was trashed on Tuesday when vandals ripped doors off their hinges, threw eggs on the walls and splattered paint on leather couches, other furniture and the floor.
As well, cabinets were broken, food from cupboards and the fridge were strewn on the ground and the Anglican Church next door had graffiti spraypainted on its walls.
The hamlet’s staff found the mess at the Elders Palace — a community space that hosts events, classes for elders and camps — during their building checks at around 7 a.m., said Cambridge Bay’s chief administrative officer, Marla Limousin.
RCMP got involved and caught the minors they believe did it. The young people were in the centre all day Wednesday cleaning up the mess, Limousin said.
“That was good. They were accountable for it,” she said.
“I think lots of lessons were learned in that.… You have to see people, you know, it’s not a blank empty space.”
Vandalism has been a problem in the hamlet, said Limousin.
Last week there was a fire in the electronics section of the hamlet’s dump that caused a big fire that let off black, toxic smoke. Arson is the suspected cause of the fire, Limousin said.
And last year, elders “were in tears,” said Limousin, after an elder’s camp, called Annana’s Camp, was vandalized.
“As a municipality, we try to bring things and make things and create spaces for people to enjoy. And every time we have an issue like that, it sets you back emotionally, but it also sets you back financially.”
And those were just a few examples — vandals also attempted to break into the community’s art studio and a gazebo that was built for residential school survivors, Limousin said.
“You can’t make everything bulletproof in a community,” she said. “It’s just getting too much and we as a community need to deal with it,” she said.
— David Venn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunatsiaq News