Fernie Aquatic Centre vandalism costs estimated over $30k: RCMP

Cleanup operations were ongoing at the Fernie Aquatic Centre on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, following vandalism that caused what the Elk Valley RCMP estimate is over $30,000 in damages. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)Cleanup operations were ongoing at the Fernie Aquatic Centre on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, following vandalism that caused what the Elk Valley RCMP estimate is over $30,000 in damages. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
City of Fernie and Fernie Aquatic Centre staff were working to clean up the pool on Saturday (Oct. 29, 2022) morning following vandalism that left debris around and inside the pool. A swim meet that brought over 400 participants to Fernie was forced to relocate to Cranbrook. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)City of Fernie and Fernie Aquatic Centre staff were working to clean up the pool on Saturday (Oct. 29, 2022) morning following vandalism that left debris around and inside the pool. A swim meet that brought over 400 participants to Fernie was forced to relocate to Cranbrook. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

The Elk Valley RCMP is asking for public assistance to identify those responsible for vandalism at the Fernie Aquatic Centre, which caused over $30,000 in estimated repair and cleanup costs.

The damage to the swimming facility was noticed on Saturday (Oct. 29) morning when aquatic centre staff were opening up prior to a planned swim meet that brought in over 400 participants from the Kootenays, Alberta, and Montana. The swim meet was relocated to Cranbrook due to the incident.

According to an RCMP press release, they attended the scene at 7:31 a.m. Saturday morning for a report of mischief to the building which was impacting the swimming pool for daily use.

“Staff had initially thought it was a prank to soil the pool for a swim meet being held there that day as the chunks of glass at the bottom of the pool looked like chunks of soil, but further investigation revealed a broken window in the upper level, causing rocks and broken glass to fall onto the pool deck and into the pool itself, making it unusable until cleaned.”

Police investigated the path of the unknown suspects and discovered two windows broken. Some forensic evidence was seized from the location for further processing, the RCMP release reads.

“The costs of this event are immeasurable to some extent, as they effected not only Fernie residents accessing their pool, but also prevented a swim meet for the community being held at the pool over two days this weekend.

“The repair costs are significant, with the associated clean up – which includes window repair, emptying and vacuuming the pool and its associated equipment – being estimated at over $30,000.”

“As most Fernie residents are aware, there is similar history to the pool in 2019 where public assistance led to solving that crime.”

“Police are again seeking the public’s assistance in this matter to identify the culprits responsible.”

“Anyone can call the Elk Valley RCMP at 250-425-6233 to provide their information to an officer, or contact BC Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) to report your information anonymously.”

“Please refer to file number 2022-3361. Our investigation is ongoing.”

READ MORE: ‘Extensive’ vandalism at Fernie Aquatic Centre forces swim meet to relocate to Cranbrook

READ MORE: Fernie’s Aquatic Centre reopens, estimated $25k in damages


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josh.fischlin@thefreepress.ca

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