DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Playground equipment was badly damaged during a weekend vandalism incident in the Testa Heights area of Uxbridge.
According to Township CAO Ingrid Svelnis, damage from the incident - which included a playground slide badly melted due to fire - is between $7,000 and $8,000.
Councillors were split on how to remedy the situation at their meeting on the morning of Monday, May 6.
Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor first motioned not to replace the damaged pieces of playground equipment this year, citing increased insurance costs.
"A substantial piece of the equipment is still there, and every time we make an insurance claim, our insurance goes up. Furthermore, our deductible is almost as much as the equipment costs to replace," explained Mayor O'Connor.
However, not all members of council agreed with the mayor's sentiments, as they thought not replacing the equipment would be unfairly penalizing the community at large.
"We need to be proactive and get after the culprits, not penalize the residents who regularly use this equipment," added Ward 5 Councillor Gord Highet.
Ward 4 Councillor Jacob Mantle sided with Councillor Highet, and proposed that funding to replace the equipment come from the municipality's Future Capital Reserve as a way of circumventing a possibly costly insurance claim.
Regional Councillor Jack Ballinger also spoke up in favour of replacing the
"We have to replace that. Just like with graffiti, if you leave it there, it goes
up all over," said Councillor Ballinger. "It looks bad for the town, and I don't
want kids to see something that's been burned. I also don't want those responsible
to be able to walk by and look at it and get satisfaction from it."
Public Works Director Ben Kester later clarified that the damaged equipment had been removed by township staff over the weekend.
After Mayor O'Connor's motion not to replace the equipment in 2013 was defeated, she closed the discussion by taking aim at those ultimately responsible for the vandals.
"I don't blame the kids as much as I blame the parents," added Mayor O'Connor. "Where are the parents in all of this? These incidents are not happening at 10 p.m. after all, they are happening much later in the night."
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