The Chilliwack Mt. Cheam Rotary Club is defiant in the face of vandals who covered their new $25,000 outdoor fitness park at Watson Glen Park with spray-painted penises, homophobic slurs and other offensive sexual graffiti over a week ago.
"A lot of people said it was a bad idea because it's just going to get wrecked," said Rotarian Scott Simpson about the park, which his club funded and built last summer. "We thought, yeah, but if you have that fear then nothing ever gets done, so let's do it and we'll just deal with it."
And deal with it they did.
Simpson was one of about 10 Rotary volunteers who spent three hours Saturday morning scrubbing away the last of the mess.
Earlier in the week, the City of Chilliwack had a worker on the site for about six hours cleaning off the sign board. A crew then power-washed the concrete pad for about three hours, according to Simpson.
He was first alerted to the graffiti Monday via Facebook, where someone had posted a message about it.
He dropped by the park-behind Twin Rinks Arena and less than a block from Mt. Slesse middle school-on his lunchbreak Tuesday and was appalled.
"It was sick," he said.
"You've gotta assume it's kids," he continued. "I think with kids there's a disconnect. They wouldn't do it to their house, and yet they see a public space and they think it's Ok. I don't know if they're not engaged enough in the community to really care or what it is."
Ultimately, he said, the solution might be as basic as parents knowing where their kids are at night.
One way or another, though, his club doesn't intend to let this kind of senseless vandalism get in the way of people enjoying the park.
By cleaning up graffiti quickly and increasing activity in the area, Simpson is confident vandals can be kept in check.
"The more this gets used, the nicer it is, the less likelihood there is of this happening," he said.
Is the effort worth it? "Absolutely," he said. " We'd come out here next weekend if it happened again."
© Copyright 2013