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Wellington Street Sports Complex beach volleyball facility in Corner Brook the target of vandalism

The remains of the window smashed out of the side of the beach volleyball storage shed on Monday.
The remains of the window smashed out of the side of the beach volleyball storage shed on Monday.

The beach volleyball season has come and gone, but Finton Gaudette found himself at the Wellington Street Sports Complex facility more than he expected on Monday.

Workers with the City of Corner Brook were down at the courts getting ready to close it down for the winter when they noticed a window smashed out of the club’s storage shed.

Gaudette, who serves as first vice-president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Volleyball Association, was phoned and together they cleaned up the scattered shards and put a piece of board over the broken pane of glass on the outside of the structure.

He then decided to head home and cut out another piece of board for the inside, just to be safe. Though there are no electronics or anything of that nature inside the shed, there are more than 30 volleyballs, which Gaudette values at about $75 each, plus other equipment.

But what he saw when he returned to the courts troubled him even more than the original act of vandalism — somebody had lit a small fire next to the bleachers during the roughly 45 minutes he was gone. He had to kick at it to put it out.

“There are homes nearby,” said Gaudette. “We’re so out of the way, anything could happen.”

He said he has asked the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary to keep an eye on the area, and they, in turn, were asking nearby residents to do the same.

As for finding the ones responsible for the shattered window, he said police have told him there’s not a whole lot they can do when it’s a matter of a rock thrown through a window. Gaudette said it was less than a week since he’d been down there, so the incident likely occurred in the last few nights.

The cost to repair the damage will come out of the club’s budget, which Gaudette admitted isn’t a large one.

It’s not so much the money that bothers Gaudette, however. It’s the act itself, the first incident of its kind he’s had to deal with in the nine years the courts have been there.

He believes it was likely perpetrated by youth who aren’t involved in summer programs like beach volleyball. Kids who are bored and have spare time on their hands to do things like this.

He said kids like that are why he runs his programs at such a low cost in the first place, to give them every opportunity to get involved.

“I was much more upset, rather than mad,” he said. “You put your heart and soul into keeping things going over there, then you find something like that.

“It’s just senseless.”

This fire was lit on Monday afternoon in a short period of time when the area was deserted. Finton Gaudette had to kick at it to put it out.

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