When they heard how some vandals had trashed the outdoor Langley Forest School in Williams Park, some students at R.E. Mountain school built a replacement for the trashed mud kitchen used for play and education by the kids.
Delivered in late April, the kitchen was created from scrounged secondhand wood and naturally occurring materials.
It has been welcomed as a “beautiful” addition to the school, but it has been spending much of it’s time indoors, locked away after hours to save it from from vandals and thieves who have continued to plague the school.
Carol LaJeunesse, president of the school’s board of directors, said there have been more incidents since the first in March, when some late-night partiers trashed the place, damaging outdoor wooden fixtures and leaving behind garbage that included discarded drinks and other evidence of a party.
READ MORE: VIDEO: Vandals trash Langley Forest School
“We were vandalized again a month after the first,” LaJeunesse told the Langley Advance Times.
“This time with intent, and knives, to cut the tarp strings.”
A secondary school site at the Municipal Nature Park on 224th Street between 4th and 8th Avenues has had several wooden items stolen over the last two months.
“Someone removed a table top live edge round about 6” thick by 36” diameter that took four of us to roll it in and lift it into place,” LaJeunesse related.
They came back and removed a live edge bench being used as a tool bench that was about 5’ long. It was replaced and attached with spikes to some huge stumps, and it still was stolen.
Both are worth an estimated $1,000.
“It’s a little disappointing,” LaJeunesse commented.
To fight back, the school has installed lighting and surveillance video. Park rangers and RCMP have stepped up their patrols and so have the caretakers, who are walking the site every hour in the evenings.
“Of course, if anybody knows someone that just acquired a new live edge bench or table round that fit those dimensions and who wouldn’t normally be able to afford it, we’d love to hear about it,” LaJeunesse said.
Until the situation improves, the “new kitchen gets put away at night until this crowd gets something else to do and moves on,” LaJeunesse said.
She described it as “a beautiful and already well-loved addition” to the school.
“It’s especially significant to the forest children because it was built by kids ‘at heart’, for kids. We are astounded by the kindness and caring that the community has expressed.”
Anyone in a position to help replace or repair the wood fixtures is invited to contact the school through the website at langleyforestschool.com or their Facebook page, facebook.com/langleyforestschool.
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