Plants designed to beautify the city have been the target of theft and vandalism since the May long weekend. Incidents have been ongoing, but last week was the most significant to date, according to city public works staff.
Just after the plant beds were installed by the city’s parks maintenance department over the May long weekend, the first theft of the season took place.
“It was very specific where (the thieves) were selective in the perennial plants they took,” said Jacob Colyn, Horticulture and Parks Operations supervisor.
“It was about a $300 value.”
On June 21, the plants at Spirit Square were hit, with about $250 worth stolen.
The most significant occurrence was last Thursday, July 7, when a large amount of plant material was taken and flowers broken off.
“They went from the foot of Johnston Road and worked their way along,” Colyn said. “Red Callas were taken and (thieves) selectively chose others.”
Colyn said he does not know the motivation but has his speculations.
“It could be for specific landscaping in their own yard,” he said. “Perennials are easily sold if you know your plants, but we don’t know why.”
“It is frustrating,” Colyn said. “We are trying to make the area more inviting.”
“We put the effort into designing a specific look,” said Eric Landsvik, city gardener.
He said it took about two full days with two workers to assemble and plant the beds. He said the thefts occurred during the night because the surrounding dirt was fresh when he checked in on the beds in the morning.
Right now the work will be to find replacement plants and repair the damage, but Landsvik will have to improvise on his custom design with different flowers.
The vandalism has had a widespread impact, with community members and businesses noticing the damage.
Nearby business, Bare Bones Fish and Chips, has had a similar incident. Last year, the geraniums along their outdoor seating area were stolen from the pots.
“This year we had to put them in plastic pots and screwed them down,” said Kim White, the restaurant’s manager.
Colyn asks anyone with information on the vandalism to call him at City Hall or to call the RCMP at 250-723-2424.