One of two trailers at Tommy Forrest Park was vandalized earlier this month with damages that could potentially cost thousands of dollars to repair.
The targetted ATCO structure has been used in recent years as umpire rooms. When NNSL Media visited the site on Monday at noon, padlocks were broken on all four doors of the trailer with items inside the rooms thrown about.
A number of windows had been boarded up from the outside and one was broken from the inside after a person or persons gained entry.
The Yellowknife Fastball League, which has been overseeing the development and operations of the Franklin Avenue ballpark, had purchased the two structures in 2018 with the intent to sell them this year.
Garrett Hinchey, league president, assumed that the damage likely occurred earlier this month.
He said fixing it wouldn’t be a “massive expense,” beyond a few thousand dollars, because there hadn’t been anything stolen and nothing of great value was stored on site.
Still, it was a disappointment given that the cost of any damage comes out of the pockets of his community volunteer group, he said.
“The building that was kind of ransacked is one that we’re not actively using right now but it’s still frustrating,” Hinchey said. “It’s difficult to figure out exactly what to do about it because we know that vandalism happens in this town and happens everywhere. But when you’re a volunteer board and you have a pretty significant field improvement budget – most of which we spent over the last year for field improvement – we don’t have a ton of money leftover to do a lot of fixes like this.
“We’ve put a lot of time and money into that park over the past few years and a lot of volunteer hours. It’s tough to see.”
Although it was too early to tell what the league would do, options include selling the buildings at a reduced price because of the damage or to make the needed investments to refurbish and sell.
Hinchey said the league has seen an increase in vandalism on the site this year, but league volunteers expect some incidents every year.
“Starting probably in the spring with the Covid-19 pandemic we definitely have seen a bit of an uptick in vandalism around the park,” he said. “We’ve had the beer garden building broken into in the springtime. We have had the windows smashed in our new building and some spray painting done to our new building over the last weekend, too.”
The league has taken some measures to address security this year, he said, with alarm monitoring for all buildings on site and close-circuit cameras on the newer umpire building.
“When more investment comes there is a bit of an obligation to protect your investment, so we did have that installed this year but we didn’t install it on these makeshift buildings, especially because we were planning on moving them out,” Hinchey said.
Yellowknife RCMP stated that have attended the ball park twice this year due to mischief-related incidents. The latest report was received on July 11.
“At approximately 11:18 pm, Yellowknife RCMP received a call for service regarding a person allegedly demolishing doors at the park,” stated Julie Plourde, RCMP media relations officer, in an email this week. “Yellowknife RCMP attended the park and started an investigation. The property representative confirmed that the doors had been broken for months. The investigation is closed and no charges have been laid.”
Plourde also stated that on May 8, there had been a call for service because of youth allegedly breaking windows at the park. There have been no charges as a result of that crime either.
Police use different tools and techniques to try to solve mischief cases, including public assistance, said Plourde. Surveillance equipment is recommended for added protection, she stated.
“The RCMP would recommend that any organizations could further their protection by investing in a video surveillance system, install motion-sensor lights and an alarm system,” she stated.