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Youth Opinion: Vandalism in Squamish needs to stop

'Vandalism is not something to be taken lightly. It damages relationships in the community and costs the community money that can be spent in other places.'
Vandals have been hitting Brennan Park Recreation Centre and park of late.

Some things spread quickly. Wildfire.

Gossip. Disease. Graffiti. It feels like it’s everywhere. Bus shelters, schools, Brennan Park, and even on public art. It seems the more there is, the faster it spreads.

Vandalism is not something to be taken lightly. It damages relationships in the community and costs the community money that can be spent in other places.

So why does it still plague our community?

I’ve never understood what motivates people to vandalize in the first place. What do they gain from it? Temporary laughter, attention, a funny story to tell their friends? Why not make it known that it was you? Are you afraid that someone is watching? Because we are all watching.

If vandalism is a crime, and crimes require consequences, why aren’t there more consequences for vandalism? The reason is simple: No one knows who does it. The only way consequences can follow vandalism is if a group of people receive the consequences of an act of one person, no matter how unfair that sounds.

Take this, for example. During the Friday night skates and hockey games, there is a higher rate of vandalism at Brennan Park Recreation Centre compared with any other day, according to the District.

The solution? To get it under control by speaking up and reporting what you see. It’s likely the last resort before temporarily suspending the activities. Is this fair? No, not at all. Not for us — youth who have been attending Friday night hockey games to cheer on our friends. But unfortunately, it seems it is the last possible solution for the staff at Brennan Park. If this consequence is put in place, it is entirely up to the younger youth to change their attitude and show that they can respectfully attend the events.

This may seem harsh, but look at the effort that our community’s athletes are putting into their game. I have several friends and classmates that love working on their skills and playing their sport more than anything, and it would kill them not to have the chance to play for their friends and family. By turning a blind eye to this and ruining the building that they play in, and by sitting back and watching it happen, we are removing their opportunity and privilege to play there.

This also goes for the parents who are reading this. Please talk to your children about these consequences, and please teach them that disrespecting people and property is not okay. I understand that we, as youth, can be rebellious, but we can always learn to do better. You are our teachers, and as much as you think we may ignore you, we can’t deny that we learn so much from you.

It’s time we pick up our act and remind our friends that vandalism is making everyone’s lives more difficult, before we ruin the things that everyone loves about our community. We are so lucky to have Brennan Park Recreation Centre in our community. We need to treat it with respect because it’s the only one we’ve got.

Grant Boguski is a Squamish teen and member of the Squamish Youth Council.

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