Partnership Aims to Eliminate Park and School Vandalism

May 8, 2006

Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Parks and Leisure Services and School District No. 42 (Maple Ridge_Pitt Meadows) have announced a partnership that will see them work together to eliminate vandalism to school and park properties. The School District spends approximately $450,000 a year on vandalism, while vandalism costs Parks and Leisure Services a further $000,000 annually. (David will provide the final figure this afternoon.)

The partnership involves Parks and Leisure Services using the School District's previously established anti-vandalism hotline and security response system which has proven effective at reducing school vandalism. The hotline number is 604-466-4357 and receives 20-30 calls a month. When a call is received, a security runner is dispatched immediately, and, if necessary, the runner contacts the RCMP.

To publicize the partnership, a joint letter signed by the Mayors of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows and the Chair of the Board of School Trustees will be sent to residents who live adjacent to school and park properties asking them to call the hotline if they observe acts of vandalism or suspicious activities. The vandalism hotline will also be displayed on park and school signage.

Board Chair Cheryl Ashlie welcomed the partnership as another step forward in building a healthy, vibrant community. "By working together with school and park neighbours, vandalism can be eliminated and the dollars saved redirected to educational and recreational programs that benefit our youth in particular and the community in general," she said.

Maple Ridge Mayor Gordon Robson noted that there are many community benefits to partnering with the School District on various initiatives. "Making use of schools after hours with drop-in programs for youth and creating joint park and school sites that represent real savings for taxpayers are just two examples. Sharing the School District's vandalism hotline will assist us in maintaining a standard of excellence for these joint facilities and will strengthen the collaborative relationship we enjoy."

Pitt Meadows Mayor Don MacLean said, "Our relationship with School District 42 has grown stronger through our work with School Board representatives on the Parks and Leisure Services Commission. We all share a common vision of creating a truly wonderful community. Joint efforts like the vandalism hotline will help us to address the challenges we face. We always do better when we work closely together. We thank the School District for taking the lead on this initiative".