Five Campbell River residents including one juvenile found themselves in hot water after they were identified as the vandals who targeted the new Splash Park with graffiti and broke a bench almost as soon as the popular attraction was opened.
"The community in general was greatly annoyed at these events with many people taking to social media and local newspapers to voice their displeasure at the actions of those involved," said Troy Beauregard, Staff Sgt. and Operations Commander of the Campbell River RCMP.
..."These youth readily admitted their fault and had no previous negative interactions with police. The accounting of the incident led police to believe that their intentions were not malicious, however stemmed instead from an ill fated idea."
The RCMP decided to divert the youths from the court system, utilize the Restorative Justice Program and hold a Community Justice Forum.
..."A Community Justice Forum (CJF) is a safe controlled environment where offenders, victims and their families or supporters are brought together under the guidance of a trained facilitator," said Kristine Atkinson, the Campbell River Restorative Justice Program Coordinator.
In this instance Atkinson was the forum facilitator and community representatives were from Rotary, The City of Campbell River, Kinsmen and the RCMP. In the CJF the offence was discussed as well as how all parties were affected and a joint plan was developed to correct what occurred.
The offenders all came prepared with money for restitution for the damage, apology letters and agreed to community service to repair the harm their actions caused the community.
"We realized this is a big thing, and that we affected a lot of people in a negative way," the offenders wrote in an open letter to the community. "In the end we all came forward to confess the events of that evening through a group decision and would like to take the time to apologize for our mistake and would like to acknowledge the RCMP for providing us with this very kind alternate decision of repaying the City of Campbell River, Daybreak Rotary Club and the Kinsmen back, and for giving us the opportunity to apologize here today and express our feelings."