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HomeCanadian NewsPeace Bridge vandalism reopens debate about heavy price of glass panels

Peace Bridge vandalism reopens debate about heavy price of glass panels

‘It is unhappy that it appears we won’t have good issues as a result of they get vandalized’

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Intensive injury finished to Calgary’s Peace Bridge over the weekend has reopened discussions about the price of sustaining the closely vandalized bridge and its significance to the town.

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Early Sunday, a person reportedly smashed as much as 80 per cent of the bridge’s glass panels with a hammer and bricks, leading to a whole lot of 1000’s of {dollars} in damages. Police had been known as to the scene however the man evaded arrest and the vandalism stays underneath investigation.

“It’s unhappy that it appears we are able to’t have good issues as a result of they get vandalized,” Richard White, a neighborhood city analyst, stated Tuesday.

“It’s a disgrace as a result of we need to have these pretty, lovely, snug areas, and the vandalism appears to be mindless.”

He stated the town ought to look into a special design and supplies that aren’t so simply destroyed and are more cost effective.

“The upkeep price of that is manner too excessive,” stated White. “What have we discovered from having it that permits us to perhaps do a small retrofit to make the bridge nonetheless be an attractive bridge, but in addition be one thing that’s less expensive to take care of?”

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Whether or not folks love or hate the Peace Bridge, it has turn out to be a gathering place and vacationer vacation spot for the town, White stated.

And whereas he’s dissatisfied within the injury, he understands the particular person accountable may very well be affected by psychological sickness or anger points.

“Sadly, we now have folks with mental-health points or who’re on the road and might’t appear to get the care that they want or have a spot to go and, sadly, this may very well be a consequence of our society right now that may’t get a deal with on mental-health points,” stated White.

Calgary police describe the suspect as 50 to 60 years outdated, with a full moustache, carrying a dark-coloured baseball cap with a white brand, a blue sweater with white or reflective stripes on the shoulders, and denims. Investigators imagine the identical man is chargeable for one other vandalism incident on the bridge on June 18.

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Calgary police released photos of the suspect on Tuesday.
Calgary police launched pictures of the suspect on Tuesday. Calgary Police Service

There have been no updates on the investigation from Calgary police on Tuesday.

Town’s bridge upkeep supervisor, Charmaine Buhler, stated Monday that the newest injury is extra extreme than another previous vandalism.

Every panel prices about $12,000 to exchange and, on common, the town has needed to change six panels yearly because of injury. This has price the town greater than $500,000 for the reason that bridge was completed in 2012. The handfuls of panels destroyed Sunday will price a whole lot of 1000’s to exchange.

Town has employed a advisor to evaluate different supplies that may higher stand up to or be much less vulnerable to vandalism. Metropolis council is anticipating a report on the bridge to be offered someday this fall.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek informed reporters Tuesday that the town is wanting into what occurred and what occurs subsequent.

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“It’s an costly repair. And I’m undecided what the scenario is with the one who did the injury. Clearly, we attempt to be compassionate in conditions like this. However we’ve additionally bought to determine what precisely led to this. It’s a travesty,” stated Gondek.

She stated vandalism of bus shelters can be an ongoing difficulty, so the town must look into various supplies.

“At one level, we did have an understanding that it could be extra expensive to exchange the panels with totally different supplies, however that one-time price could also be a greater funding,” the mayor stated.

The injury to the bridge is heartbreaking, stated Mark Garner, the manager director of the Calgary Downtown Affiliation. Regardless of the bridge being controversial since its inception, it contributes to Calgary’s financial system, he stated.

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“We’re competing proper now with one thing that’s known as the expertise financial system. Individuals are searching for experiences to spend their revenue,” stated Garner.

The bridge brings guests from the downtown into different neighbourhoods, and throughout the Bow River to Hillhurst and Sunnyside, he stated.

“If persons are in that space, it creates the stickiness it is advisable to generate economics. Having the bridge there has a direct influence on companies as a result of folks cease for lunch or purchase one thing within the space,” he stated.

Altering the supplies of the bridge might have an effect on the aesthetic of its meant design, Garner stated. However he admitted that the bridge will stay weak to repeated vandalism even after expensive repairs.

Jeff Hessel, vice-president of promoting with Tourism Calgary, stated in a press release that the Peace Bridge has turn out to be one among Calgary’s most recognizable and iconic landmarks. Pictures of the bridge are utilized in a lot of the town’s advertising.

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Signs notify cyclists and pedestrians of damage at the Peace Bridge.
Indicators notify cyclists and pedestrians of injury on the Peace Bridge. Jim Wells/Postmedia

“It’s an attractive characteristic within the metropolis’s downtown panorama, widespread with locals and guests alike, so it’s very disappointing to see this sort of vandalism and ensuing injury,” stated Hessel.

Peg Oneil, president of the Eau Claire Group Affiliation, stated it’s unimaginable that somebody would injury the bridge on this manner, particularly as the town runs a marketing campaign to discourage vandalism on the bridge.

“It’s simply completely horrifying. We’re all sick at coronary heart,” Oneil stated. “It’s not simply one among Calgary’s iconic pictures, it’s our residence. It’s our bridge . . . It’s a part of our pathways. Folks run on it, they bike on it and so they take pleasure in taking a look at it.”

Town launched a marketing campaign final month to focus on the Peace Bridge as a bit of artwork. The bridge was lined with defaced work and posters to discourage vandals, however is now additionally lined with yellow “Warning” tape as each side of the bridge are closed to maintain folks away from the damaged panels.

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Cyclists are required to dismount as they share the central pathway with pedestrians.

Oneil stated she’s involved different supplies would take away from the bridge’s magnificence, and wouldn’t replicate the sunshine and water in the identical manner because the glass.

The chief director of the Kensington BRZ, Annie MacInnis, stated it’s unhappy to see this sort of injury, whether or not it’s to murals, companies or the Peace Bridge.

“So many individuals work so laborious on this neighborhood to make it a extra lovely and welcoming neighborhood,” she stated. “It’s disappointing to see somebody do this sort of injury that may price taxpayers a lot.”

— With recordsdata from Brodie Thomas
Twitter: @BabychStephanie

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