Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City sports club trashed again

Latest damage to Wildewood may cost $100,000 to repair

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A Winnipeg sports club has been hit by senseless acts of vandalism that police say could cost more than $100,000 in repairs.

Staff members of the Wildewood Club gathered there Monday to survey extensive damage to the private club at 761 North Dr.

On Sunday or early Monday, vandals flooded the curling rink, smashed large picture windows and threw trophies onto the ice from a busted display case.

There were even chairs tossed down the curling sheets.

Staff members are baffled by what they say is the second attack the club has suffered since late October.

"It's very unusual for this neighbourhood... the neighbourhood that we're in is a very quiet, peaceful neighbourhood, and now we've had this happen twice," said Wildewood president Gord Doerksen.

"It's getting crazy."

Sometime between Oct. 24 and 25, the club suffered its first bout of vandalism.

Police said someone broke into the club last month and made off with about $3,000 worth of cash, liquor and food after causing more than $10,000 in damage inside.

Doerksen said in the second round of vandalism, the severity had escalated.

"They did quite a bit of damage (in October), but nothing like they did this time," he said.

An icemaker discovered the damage Monday at about 6 a.m.

By the afternoon, the carpet in the facility was littered with hundreds of shards of broken glass and locker-rooms were flooded. Glass doors were also punctured.

A Santa Claus figurine was knocked down in the front entrance of the club, a grim example of the wreckage that spread over three separate floors of the facility.

Doerksen said at least 200 people use the club facilities each day. The club has a swimming pool, a curling rink and badminton courts.

"It just seems like somebody was very angry," said Doerksen, adding it's unknown how long the club will stay closed while repairs are made.

"There's curlers that were supposed to be curling today. There's functions that were supposed to be going on... that's all got to stop."

Toilets, urinals, mirrors and sinks in the club's bathrooms were "totally wrecked," he said.

Some of the large picture windows broken in October had been replaced last Friday, only to be shattered again just three days later.

Both times, there were objects like fans thrown into the pool.

For Wildewood employees, the vandalism means long hours of repair work.

Vandals placed a hose on the curling-rink ice and then ran water onto the ice, melting it.

"It's worse than starting from scratch because we've got to clean up," said Grant Churchill, an assistant ice technician at Wildewood. "(It's) back-to-back senseless acts."

Anyone with information can contact police at 986-2877 or Crime Stoppers at 786-8477 (TIPS). Police from District 6 are investigating, as well as officers from the forensic identification unit.

Police are considering whether the same person or people are involved in both crimes.

gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 30, 2010 B1

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