The boardwalk in Caldwell First Nation has only been open to the public for a few weeks, but it has already been vandalized.
Entrance signs to the park were bent, benches were stolen and a pair of lookout point binoculars were damaged by unknown vandals sometime this week.
Members of Caldwell First Nation reported the vandalism to the band office on Tuesday morning, Chief Mary Duckworth told CBC Windsor on Wednesday.
The damage, she says, is “unfortunate.”
“It makes me sad that that’s an expense on the nation, but more so it really hurts the good things that we can all do together, as people, as human beings” she said.
Duckworth said she doesn’t believe the vandalism was racially motivated.
“I think I would be able to tell that because we’ve been living in society for a long time and we’ve seen racist incidents,” she said.
Duckworth said she doesn’t have an estimate of how much the damage cost. She said the vandalism has been reported to the Ontario Provincial Police.
Visitors disappointed by vandalism
Maggie Buckley, who was visiting the boardwalk on Wednesday afternoon, shared her disappointment with the damage done to the public space.
“I find that really disrespectful because [Caldwell First Nation] built this for us to go on, with their land,” she said.
The boardwalk is open to all visitors, from Caldwell First Nation and beyond.
“Although Caldwell First Nation built it to protect the habitat, [the boardwalk] was built for everybody. It wasn’t just built for the First Nation,” Duckworth said.
Andrea and Richard Pretli were also visiting the park Wednesday afternoon.
Andrea said she and Richard often visit public parks, like Point Pelee, and said they were “very impressed” by the boardwalk and surrounding nature.
“We’ve seen a lot of monarch butterflies,” Andrea said, adding that she finds the vandalism “disgusting.”
Richard said he believes whoever vandalized the boardwalk “needs more outlets” for their entertainment.
“There’s no reason to damage or destroy this,” he said.
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