Freedom of speech and expression is one of the greatest rights a Canadian can have, it helps make the country a beautiful place to live and work. However, there is a definite line of what can be said and done and what should be said and done.
Vandalism can be found throughout Ponoka, whether it’s some spray paint on a building, a broken fence or smashed in windows on private and/or public buildings. It is not very obvious at first but it is there.
Vandalism is a willful act of destruction or defacement of property and there is no place for it. Making a mess of buildings and property is not the answer to express oneself, gain entry to cash, or act out boredom, it is a crime.
Vandalism is vandalism whether it is created with spray paint, marker, pen or scratching up surfaces. It is all the same when it comes down to it in or out of town.
Over the days of Sept. 4 to Sept. 7 Ponoka experienced a vandalism blitz. Someone, or some people shattered the glass doors of several businesses in the town including Jones Boys Saddlery and Western Wear, Ponoka Denture Clinic, Perry’s Pizza, Riverside Motor Inn and the Ponoka Rising Sun Clubhouse.
These establishments were broken into and damaged costing the owners hundreds of dollars to repair the doors.
These negative events not only put a strain on the owners’ wallets but also frustrate and disappoint these businessmen and women. The disappointment filters out into the families and individuals of the town as well. Many people in Ponoka volunteer, work hard and try to keep up the beauty of the town and when bored, money searching, troubled people destroy what they worked for, it becomes discouraging.
The most disheartening act of vandalism is the destruction of the doors of the Rising Sun Clubhouse. The clubhouse is repeatedly giving back to the community and offers a place where individuals who are past or present consumers of mental health services can come to find fellowship, meaningful work and great opportunities and tools for living a satisfying and productive life. This establishment was broken into twice in the past weeks, once on Aug. 29 and again sometime between Sept. 2 and 3. The reasons for break and entry could be a lot of issues, but targeting an organization that brings so much to the community just enhances the intensity of the crime.
The vandalism and theft does have one wondering if these incidents will have any effect on the decision of a curfew but since there are no suspects as of yet, police are saying that it can’t be assumed that it was a youth that committed the acts.
Whether it was youth expressing themselves, someone hard up for cash, a result of a drug high or anything else, there are many different organizations, jobs, churches, etc. that one can become involved with or get help from. There is no reason to take out one’s problems on innocent and trusting people.
These several crimes have occurred at all hours of the night and early morning, as late as 7 a.m. and anyone that heard, saw, or noticed something suspicious should contact the Ponoka RCMP or Crime Stoppers.
The community of Ponoka is always working together and striving to be a healthy community and relaying any information on these incidents to the police is just another way to prevent similar attacks from occurring and help keep up the town’s good reputation.