COLD LAKE – It was a local improvement that Cold Lake residents and beachgoers had been waiting for – a complete facelift and amenities upgrade at Kinosoo Beach just in time for the summer.
Just over a month after the recreational area was upgraded and fully re-opened to the public, Kinosoo Beach became the target of an overnight vandalism blitz that saw numerous municipal buildings, signs and infrastructure tagged with spray painted slurs, swears and scribbles.
The senseless vandalism took place in the early morning of Friday, Aug. 12. The City and Cold Lake RCMP are now investigating the incident.
“It really is disappointing and deflating to see such a lack of respect for our community, our amenities and our City staff who work so hard to keep the beach in such pristine condition all summer long,” said Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland.
“Kinosoo Beach is the crown jewel of our city, and our staff and contractors worked full out to have the new Phase 3 enhancements open and ready to go for Canada Day. Here we are not even six weeks later, in the middle of our busy summer tourism season, and now our staff are going to spend hours and thousands of dollars cleaning up this careless mess.”
The damage extended to several areas including the concession stand, utility boxes, a water treatment building, the zip line platform, park signage, seating areas and the concrete retaining wall.
Public works staff have already started removing the graffiti, but it’s expected that some infrastructure such as park signage will need to be replaced entirely, according to a media release by the City.
This is not the first time the City of Cold Lake has dealt with this type of large-scale vandalism.
“The same thing happened last spring at Imperial Park, and then again last fall at the Energy Centre,” Copeland said.
“We’re proud of the infrastructure that council is able to fund, and we want our residents and visitors to be able to take advantage of it.”
The mayor also made a point of noting that Kinosoo Beach does have some surveillance cameras and the municipality will be working alongside law enforcement in the matter.
"So hopefully we’re able to track down those responsible,” he said.
The City is asking the public and visitors to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police.
Anyone with information about this or any other crime in the community should call the Cold Lake RCMP non-emergency line at 780-594-3302. Anonymous tips can be submitted through Crime Stoppers at crimestoppers.ab.ca or 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)