Two youth were caught smashing the windows in two passenger rail cars that are part of the Alberni Pacific Railway in the summer. PHOTO COURTESY DAVID HOOPER

Port Alberni taxpayers will have to pay for damage to heritage rail cars

Damage didn't quite reach city's insurance deductible: CAO Tim Pley

Port Alberni taxpayers will be on the hook for some vandalism that caused significant damage to city-owned rail cars this summer.

In August, two youth were caught vandalizing a pair of heritage rail cars, allegedly kicking out the windows of two covered cars, damaging the seats and expelling several fire extinguishers.

City council agreed during a council meeting on Monday, Nov. 25 to give the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society (WVIHS) $9,072 in funding to replace the broken glass in the city-owned rail equipment.

Councillor Ron Corbeil commented on Monday that it doesn’t seem fair that taxpayers are covering the costs when the two vandals were caught.

“Yet somehow the city ends up having to pick up the bill,” he added.

The youth did return to the scene of the crime a few weeks later to clean up some of the mess they made, and one of their mothers handed some allowance money to WVIHS president Pete Geddes. But Geddes said on Monday that it’s up to Crown Council if the two youth will be required to pay anymore for the damages.

READ MORE: Youth suspected of vandalism return to clean up heritage rail cars in Port Alberni

READ MORE: Vandals break windows in Port Alberni heritage train cars

A GoFundMe campaign this summer raised around $3,500 for the WVIHS, which will be used to fix the damage to the rail car seats. But the cost to replace the glass will still be $9,072.

City CAO Tim Pley noted during Monday’s meeting that the city has a $10,000 insurance deductible.

“So it wouldn’t make any sense to activate the insurance policy on this,” he added.

Money will come from the city’s contingency fund. The repairs will not be done until the spring.


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