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Greater effort needed to stop vandalism

Posted on July 29, 2014 by 40 Mile Commentator

Since Burdett’s gazebo has been in the news recently I thought readers might like to know the history of that particular campground. The original ball diamond was on the extreme west side of Burdett. It consisted of one diamond with a very well built backstop.

The village council decided to level and seed grass at the school to increase use of our ball diamonds. Volunteer labor was used to move the old backstop for one new diamond and a new backstop was built for a second diamond in preparation for Burdett Days that year. The rec board also installed a double toilet facility on the south side and built a new concession building in time for the 60th anniversary of Burdett.

Burdett had a problem with some strange transients trying to camp on the school grounds also trying to set up on the hall parking lot. The village council at that time was Raymond Clark, Ella Nelson and Ken Rose. With a recreation/tourism grant and local labor the gazebo was built in 1987 along with camping spots, power and water, a stove in the gazebo and picnic tables in preparation for Burdett’s 75th celebration. We had fundraisers for the toilets, also built by volunteer labor. They were a little more expensive as the Alberta Government required them to be wheel-chair accessible, have two doors and regulation receptacles that could be pumped out. Playground equipment was added later.

The gazebo has been well used over the years for family gatherings, church services and a kick off place for the giant bike fund raiser. We’ve had construction workers camping there and probably the most important use has been for Burdett ball tournaments.

This campground is in jeopardy now because of vandalism. The suggestion that vandals have nothing to do therefore we should provide activities is complete nonsense. Vandalism is a crime not a little prank to be condoned. It is worse than theft, a senseless activity that affects everyone from the volunteers that built the property to the people who legitimately use the facility.

As Canadian citizens we have a RIGHT to work and live safely in Canada. We have the PRIVILEGE to enjoy our surroundings at a reasonable price but it is our DUTY to look after our environment be it nature or man-made structures. Even animals don’t trash their own territory.

Since vandalism is destroying Bow Island’s recreation facilities, Grassy Lake’s park at the forks and Burdett’s gazebo it is time to make a stronger effort to arrest these vandals and put a stop to this destruction. The police should be doing drive-bys. Citizens should report what they see to authorities instead of expecting someone else to do it. It may be cheaper for the County, Bow Island or MD of Taber to hire a group, an individual or add duties to an existing employee to keep an eye on the facility than to spend money for repairs later. Write down license numbers for a record. And perhaps it’s time to charge for the use of our facilities.

Ella Nelson

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