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Two minors charged in $150,000 vandalism in La Glace

June 13, 2024

By: Austin Payeur, Community Reporter

Two minors have been charged in relation to $150,000 in damages to the new arena under construction in La Glace last week.

La Glace and District Agricultural Society chair Derek Nyland said the vandalism was reported by construction crews who arrived to work June 4 to find the destruction. 

Nyland told the News Monday that two minors have been arrested and charged with the vandalism.

Tire tracks were found at Tamarack Valley Regional Recreation Centre in La Glace among many other damages by construction crews last Tuesday. (Photo by Jesse Boily)

“It’s a real shame to see a project … that’s supposed to go towards helping the community and the people get damaged,” said Nyland. 

“People that have been working on it throughout the years have put a lot of volunteer time and effort into it.”

(Photo by Jesse Boily)

Nyland said the ag society is working with its insurer to see what losses may be covered.

He said crews were working there Monday (June 3) “wrapped up and everything was good, and they got back there Tuesday morning and found the vandalism,” said Nyland.

(Photo by Jesse Boily)

A window had been broken to gain entry, he said. 

“They took a telehandler and flipped over a scissor lift,” Nyland said.

“The damage to the scissor lift is one thing, but it makes battery acid and oil spill onto the concrete where our ice surface goes, so that’s a bit of an issue.”

Another scissor lift was “wrecked,” Nyland said, adding the telehandler was driven into a wall with enough speed to bend the machine’s forks and puncture the wall.

Damaged sewer lines at Tamarack Valley Regional Recreation Centre in La Glace. (Photo by Jesse Boily)

A steel girder and sewer lines were also damaged, as well as about $35,000 in cork flooring earmarked for basketball.

“It’s not like we have an abundance of money to begin with, so to have everybody come together to donate and to sponsor and to keep this project moving ahead, to have it vandalized in such a senseless way is hard to take.”

The facility, named the Tamarack Valley Regional Recreation Centre, will house an arena and space for programming once completed.

Nyland said initial budget for the arena was about $4.5 million, but that ended up paying only for the first phase, which was construction of the building’s outer structure. 

Skid marks with damage to the steel structure of the Tamarack Valley Regional Recreation Centre in La Glace. (Photo by Jesse Boily)

Nyland said the society hired a new contractor for the next phase, which consisted of insulating interior walls and installing heating/cooling lines along with the concrete slabs for ice surface.

Phase three of the facility’s construction started last month and includes electrical work, permanent lighting, heating, washrooms and fire alarm system.

“We will also be hooking up municipal sewage as well so that we have useable washrooms,” Nyland said.

Dressing rooms and a kitchen will be installed in future phases; however, Nyland said the facility can open before that and is hoping to be ready for the fall. 

Construction began in 2017. To date, the costs are sitting at about $7 million, with approximately $4.5 million from the County of Grande Prairie in grants.

Two $500,000 Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) provincial grants were also received. 

Nyland said the rest has been raised through corporate donations and other grants, as well as private donations from the community and fundraisers.