Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION
Vandals terrorize community museum
A rash of vandalism at Grant’s Old Mill has museum officials worried about security as the mill prepares for upcoming celebrations to mark the 2012 bicentennial of the Selkirk Settlers.
Last week, vandals tore apart the mill’s wheelchair ramp — a week to the day after it was previously vandalized and promptly fixed by the city.
"We came in and it’s gone. Just ripped off the step and left in a neat little pile," said Nancy Fluto, president of the St. James-Assiniboia Pioneer Association, which operates the museum.
The destruction is just the latest in a series of attacks on the museum, which has become a popular late night hangout for teens, Fluto said.
"Teens party here all the time," she said, noting the mill is well hidden along Sturgeon Creek by a large grove of trees.
"Every second weekend something happens here. Pretty soon they’ll get through the door."
During the past several weeks, museum staff have shown up for their shifts to find the mill’s entrance area littered with broken beer bottles, vulgar graffiti and leftover pizza boxes, tour guide Nick Horyski said.
"It’s frustrating," he said, noting it takes several staff more than a few hours to clean things up.
"It’s hard, especially when you have school kids coming in."
Frequent visitor and volunteer board member Stuart MacMillan, who uses a wheelchair, called the damage a blow to the regular group of seniors who visit the museum, many of whom require the ramp to gain entry into the museum.
"It’s sad," he said.
On July 14, the museum will host its Cuthbert Grant Day celebrations.
Some 1,000 people are expected to attend the event, which will see Lord Strathspey, chief of the Grant clan in Scotland, declare Cuthbert’s Canadian descendents an official sect of the Grant clan.
It’s a big honour for those attending, and vandalism is the last thing museum officials want to worry about, Horyski said.
"We have a lot to handle, there’s a lot on our plate," he said. "This is the last thing we need. Who knows what will happen next."
Police have told museum staff they don’t have the manpower to monitor the area and suggested setting up video surveillance, Fluto said.
However, the museum doesn’t have the money to hire or add its own additional security measures, she said.
Fluto is hoping the community will help keep an eye on the museum.
"The history in this building is important for everyone to learn," she said, noting the museum receives up to 200 visitors a week during the summer — some from as far away as Italy and Brazil.
"It’s very important to have our doors open."
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(1 of 16 articles for this week)05/15/2013 1:00 AM 0
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