WATCH: Vandals and partiers have destroyed thousands of hours of volunteer work south of Nanaimo, and left behind piles of broken glass, burned fences and nails that could prove fatal for the horses that use the site. As Skye Ryan reports, without a massive clean-up the recreation site off Spruston road is too dangerous to be used.
Saddling up for a backcountry ride Sunday, Jim Fiddick stood in shock at what vandals have done to his club’s rural site.
“Devastated,” said Jim Fiddick.
“There’s glass everywhere. Just couldn’t believe it,” said the Cedar resident and member of the B.C. Backcountry Horsemen.
Vandals and partiers destroyed the club’s volunteer built recreation site south of Nanaimo, over the Easter long weekend.
“There’s hundreds of broken beer bottles,” said Graham Payne, the Chair of B.C. Backcountry Horsemen.
“And liquor bottles littered over the site right now,” said Payne.
“They literally ripped the fence out,” said Lynn DeVries, also a member of B.C. Backcountry Horsemen.
“They ripped the boards out, they ripped the posts out and they burnt them.”
Backcountry horsemen members built the site with 3500 hours of volunteer labour. Clearing it of broom, laying gravel and building fences for their horses.
Now it is ruined. The charred debris filled with nails scattered everywhere just as the riders were preparing for a provincial gathering at the site in May.
Photos posted to social media show teens tearing out signs at the site, and volunteers say they’ve learned it was an unauthorized graduation party involving hundreds of students from School District 68.
“We discovered that it was all the secondary schools that were involved,” said DeVries.
After reaching out to the district, volunteers were hoping the students would come forward and clean up the dangerous mess at the Spruston road site, but so far no one has.
“In a perfect world your morals are getting to lead you back here to clean up after yourself,” said Payne.
With hundreds of horses and riders coming from across the province in just a few weeks time, there’s a real urgency to getting the site cleaned and fences back up.
“And we’re trying to get this off our site because it’s so dangerous for our horses,” said DeVries.
The cost to rebuild the fences alone, is expected to be over $1000. As volunteers scramble to make a site they took so much pride in safe once again.