From Dan McLennan's article on Canada.com: Three boys could end up paying very publicly for their very public lack of respect for property in Willow Point on Canada Day, after ripping apart City maple trees and strewing garbage about the highway at the entrance to Campbell River....
[City Parks foreman Tom Clarke said, "The timing's just awful. It's never good but it couldn't be worse, especially going into this time of the summer when we're busy. We've got lots of people coming through town. We're trying to put on a good face."
The damage included 13 boulevard trees, with trunks snapped or branches ripped off. Hanging flower baskets were torn down and thrown into the road. "Wednesday morning was also residential garbage day for this area," Clarke said. "Garbage was strewn all over the highway."
That's left a hefty bill to be paid once tree replacement costs, are factored in.
"It's fast approaching $8,000 by the time we're done here," Clarke said. "I'm not sure. It could be more.
"It's pretty upsetting. It just puts a real damper on the image we're trying to portray here...."
Police arrested three 16-year-old boys, one from Campbell River, one from Gold River and one from Nanaimo. The boys were later turned over to their parents, but police, the city and others are working to make sure the matter doesn't end there, to make sure taxpayers don't get stuck with another vandalism-related bill.
RCMP Cpl. Brian Brown says the matter will be going to a Restorative Justice (RJ) forum.
"The reason for that would be that none of them have any record," Brown said. "We're looking at thousands of dollars in damage and the courts would never impose that on first offenders. Nor would there be any sort of punitive action taken. With the restorative justice forum, the expectation - and my belief - is that they are going to be dealt with much more harshly through an RJ than they would be in the provincial court system or the youth courts. The courts would probably simply give them a conditional sentence and send them on their way. With the RJ forum we're looking at restitution and we'll be looking at some community input.
"We have the OIC's (Officer in Command's) support and we have the City's support and we're putting together a package in order to make sure that this doesn't fall on the taxpayers' shoulders. City council as well as residents in the area are going to be involved in the forum."letter to the editor insisted: "The Restorative Justice System is the one and only way to teach those who did the damage, and their parents, a lesson in respecting the property of others, first time offenders not withstanding. Perhaps through the example set by this incident there will be no further vandalism."