File Photo

File Photo

‘You took away some real joy,’ Sylvan Lake Winter Village turned off after vandalism

Sometime during the night of Jan, 12 the light display at the pier was vandalized and damaged

The vandalism at the Winter Village in Sylvan Lake Park is “absolutely heartbreaking” and an “insult,” says Denise Bryan-Williams.

Sometime Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, someone vandalized the light display located on the pier.

The Winter Village Committee, made up of volunteers, local businesses and members of the Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce, were told a number of cords were damaged or broken, strings of lights were damaged and some of the light tunnels were thrown onto the ice.

Bryan-Williams, executive director of the chamber, says the extent of the damage is unknown, and is being assessed right now.

“It is really just, it’s so frustrating. It has been a really tough year, and we weren’t sure if we were going to even be able to get it up and running and then this,” said Bryan-Williams.

This year marked the fourth year for the crowd-favourite light display, which grows a bit every year. This year the Winter Village Committee added lights under the ice of the skating rink, to further extend the magic of the display.

The lights, and newly lit skating rink, have drawn attention from across the province.

Bryan-Williams says this year in particular visitors have been drawn to Sylvan Lake to take in the spectacle from across central Alberta, and even from Calgary and Edmonton.

“The response this year has just been phenomenal,” said Bryan-Williams. “It has been absolutely amazing. So many people have said how happy they were to see the display back again this year.”

Bryan-Williams has started a GoFundMe page to help raise funds to replace and fix the damaged display.

While the total cost of the damage is currently unknown, she says there is a lot to consider.

“What I think people need to realize [with the Winter Village] is that it is not a town initiative. We have to pay for the labour of the set and now for the assessment and fixes,” she said.

Bryan-Williams added, the Winter Village costs roughly $35,000 to run each year.

The cost is largely paid for by businesses, families and locals who sponsor the display, planter parade and downtown snowmen each year.

The GoFundMe, Don’t Cancel Santa – Light up the Christmas Village, is hoping to raise $10,000 to offset the cost to repair the display and light it up once again.

As of publishing, just over $800 has been raised.

“The money we raise will go toward replacing strands of lights and fixing the damage. Anything left over will go towards putting the Winter Village together again next year.”

Bryan-Williams is encouraging anyone with information about the incident to contact the Sylvan Lake RCMP.

“Whoever did this, you didn’t just vandalize a site, you took away some real joy from a lot of people.”

Bryan-Williams says the Winter Village will be turned off while the assessment is being done, however it will be turned back on once it is safe to do so.


Follow Megan Roth on Twitter

@MeganSLN
megan.roth@sylvanlakenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ryan Jake Applegarth of Ponoka, 28, is scheduled to appear at Ponoka Provincial Court on March 12, 2021. (File photo)
Discussions about justice continue as Ponoka murder victims’ court cases proceed

Responses to comments Ponoka Staff Sgt. Chris Smiley made to town council Feb. 9

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Annual spending on debt interest is closing in on $3 billion

Alberta reported an additional 399 cases of COVID-19 Thursday, on 9,217 tests, for a test positivity rate of 4.3 per cent. (Image courtesy CDC)
Red Deer down to 562 active COVID-19 cases

8 new COVID-19 deaths, 399 additional COVID-19 cases

(File photo/Lauren Collins Vana)
Ponoka cat owners have until July 1, 2021 to purchase licenses

Town council passed new Animal Control Bylaw Feb. 23

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

By 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, 4,500 seniors had booked their appointments

A ” Justice for Jeff” T-shirt. (Photo submitted)
Rally to be held outside courthouse for slain Ponoka man

At what may be the last opportunity for Jeffery Kraft of Ponoka… Continue reading

A helicopter flies past a mountain near McBride, B.C., on Saturday January 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Avalanche warning for backcountry users in North and South Rockies

Avalanche Canada is urging backcountry users to always check their regional avalanche forecasts

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta’s COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

The court says it will reconvene with lawyers on March 5 for a case management plan by teleconference

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

Sylvan Lake's Winter Village lured many visitors to the town this winter. The town has launched a new contest to attract a new business.
(Black Press file photo)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

Alberta premier Jason Kenney, right and Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, provide details about Bill 13, the Alberta Senate Election Act., in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday June 26, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Minister Doug Schweitzer talks on Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit

Provincial government rolling out new benefit this April to better help small businesses.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Most Read