When the Boston Bruins beat our beloved Canucks last Wednesday, the Comox Valley felt horror as to what was happening in the streets of Vancouver.
However, we had no idea that behaviour would spill over into Cumberland, B.C. The Coal Hills BMX track was vandalized with graffiti reminiscent of the obscenities that occurred in Vancouver.
A very thoughtless, mean-spirited person spraypainted an obscene word in regards to the Bruins, in large enough letters for it to be seen clear across the community park on the moto shed at Coal Hills. Members of the community as well as Coal Hills were outraged.
Coal Hills has been the target of vandalism and thoughtless destruction in the past. Bleachers and staircases have been set on fire, lights destroyed and bits of graffiti are not uncommon. The association is a 100 per cent volunteer run, not-for-profit society.
They receive no monetary support from the village or the regional district. Coal Hills has always picked themselves up after acts of vandalism and made due with what they were left with. This time was different, the obscene word was too large to ignore and had the potential to ruin the safe family friendly environment, the volunteers spend so much time trying to provide.
Aidan Webber, a 10-year-old nationally ranked rider from Coal Hills BMX, was outraged that someone would do that to his club. Aidan helped his mother take the curse word off the moto shed with paint thinner. He spent his afternoon trying to erase the effects of the vandals.
As other teens watched the pair scrub the wall for over two hours, Aidan could be heard saying quietly to his mother, “That’s the difference between BMX kids and the kids who did this.”
However, the task was too great for one little guy so the decision was made the moto shed needs to be painted.
A sense of outrage and sympathy started to flood through the social media sites in the Valley. People and small businesses were offering help to gather a reward for the arrest of the vandals as well as offers of monetary donations to help repaint.
Nanaimo BMX was quick to jump in with anything Coal Hills needs to repaint; as was Fastenal in Campbell River quick to offer supplies and a reduced rate on the paint needed to do the job. Then an amazing phone call came in on Friday afternoon. Slegg Lumber in Cumberland wants to provide the paint free of charge to the organization.
As quickly as spirits were dampened, they were reignited with the hopes that the moto shed would soon be better than ever. More phone calls of outrage and offers of help continued, then local artist Lisa Marshall has offered to create a BMX mural on the side of the moto shed.
The Coal Hills gang is excited to see what the finished product will look like. They want a happy safe fun environment for these kids who choose to spend their free time participating in a constructive healthy sport. It feels like that is what we will have very soon.
Any donations to this organization are put directly into the kids and are always greatly appreciated. Donations can be dropped off Monday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. or Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements to have them picked up.
Editor’s note: Nicole Webber is the vice-president of Coal Hills BMX.