The artificial lake – a popular spot for residents looking to cool off on a hot summer day – has been closed since it was completely overwhelmed by the torrential downpour the city received in late June. Al Cameron, president of the society, which looks after Rotary Lake, said they had finally removed all the sediment that had washed into the lake and were beginning to pump fresh water back into it when sometime between last Monday night and Tuesday morning, vandals struck.
"Somebody in their wisdom decided to roll garbage barrels with garbage in them down to the lake, which had just been cleaned out and starting to get water pumped in, and they decided to smash some beer bottles in the same episode," said Cameron.
He said that caused them to have to flush the water out again and clean up the broken glass and garbage. He said they had hoped to reopen the lake to the public this week, but that work put them behind schedule.
"It has put us behind the eight-ball again, and cost money and time," he said.
Of course, Rotary Lake may be subject to another deluge as a heavy rainfall hits the city again this weekend. Cameron said if the flooding is as bad as the last event, the society may have to consider whether they can afford to open the lake at all again this summer.
He said the society – which also looks after the Mile 0 Campground, Pioneer Village and Sudeten Hall – has a limited budget, and to clean up Rotary Lake again they will likely have to draw on funds they would use elsewhere, such as improvements and maintenance at the Pioneer Village.
"Being a non-profit organization, at the end of the year we don`t have any profit, and we don`t want to go into debt."
This isn`t the first time the society has dealt with vandalism – the Pioneer Village has been damaged several times over the course of the past several months.
"This year has been the worst. We`ve had about six events of vandalism just this year alone," said Cameron, adding in previous years they had only seen a few cases.
He asked the public to help secure the area by keeping an eye out for suspicious activity and reporting any to the RCMP, and perhaps just by shining their headlights through the facilities if someone happens to be driving by at night.