WILKIE — The morning of Sept. 18, residents of Wilkie were horrified to learn of a vandalism spree that affected a private cenotaph and Memorial Park as well as the Wilkie Museum.
Multiple symbols, words and other derogatory graphics were painted on numerous places in Wilkie. An anarchy symbol was in several spots as was a pentagram, which is meant to reflect satanism.
Mayor David Ziegler was at a loss for words when first asked for a statement from the town on the damage, “What can I say, my feelings about this are not good.”
Ziegler says he is unsure how it will be cleaned. After a previous incident at Memorial Park, the Public Works Department was able to remove most of the vandal’s handiwork, so he is hopeful this will work again for this mass act of vandalism
“There are lights, but not around the museum. The lights at Memorial Park, I cannot say how bright they are or how many. We may have to start installing cameras ,which is an added expense for the town and taxpayers.”
The mayor reiterates the importance for residents to be the eyes and ears of the community and be diligent in reporting suspicious activity.
As residents learned of the willful damage their shock and dismay at the act of defacing such a sacred place as the Imrie Memorial was unimaginable. The number of places the vandalism spree hit was also another sad reality the morning of Sept. 18.
One resident, choosing not to be named, said, “This is disgusting and who would do such a thing? It is going to be very difficult to clean up this damage. This was a terrible way to wake up Sunday morning and learn of this willful damage.”
David Martin, Legion member says the main cenotaph was untouched, however a private memorial cenotaph for a pilot killed in training was damaged. The finished memorial for David D. Imrie, T.C.A., was duly dedicated by clergy in a ceremony in the fall of 1939 and was a private memorial structure that includes plaques on four sides of tribute to the local soldier.
Phil Heilman, part of the small group of museum volunteers, says “We will have to match paint on the schoolhouse and paint over it. This is another task upon our small group of volunteers as well as a dent in our already constricted budget.”
Heilman says the RM building is stucco and likely will also have to painted over and the Wilkie Museum group will try and rectify as quickly as possible.
Resident, Alex Majewski, who is also chair of the Wilkie Regional Park has since commented on this SASKTODAY.ca story saying the same graphics were found at the Regional Park on Sunday on the shower house, the concession booth and the garage. Majewski says this is the third time this year the park has been damaged by vandals. Even with the shower houses locked, vandals gained entry and painted mirrors, doors and metal walls.
The town staff will be taken away from fall tasks to do what they are able to do to clean up the mess. The locations affected by the malicious destruction are maintained by small groups, that include aging memberships, and will need the help of others in the community to help repair the damage.
Anyone with tips or information on this crime is urged to contact the RCMP.