By Kirk Starratt
Vandals have struck at Port Williams’ soccer nets.
Geneve Newcombe, the village’s chief financial officer, confirmed Aug. 20 there have been a couple instances of vandalism at soccer fields.
The first incident happened the night of Aug. 14. Public works employees reported damage to a soccer net at Benedict Field. A net had been cut, but workers were able to repair it. However, damage done the afternoon of Aug. 16 was more severe. A portable toilet was tipped over and a soccer net was completely destroyed.
“They cut it from top to bottom in the middle,” Newcombe said.
The net has to be replaced but, if there are no more games scheduled for the facility, the village will wait for next spring for the fix.
A soccer net at Port Williams Elementary School’s field has also been vandalized, sometime between Aug. 15 and 19.
These aren’t the only recent acts of vandalism to village property. The park and playground next to Benedict Field has also been vandalized.
“We put security cameras up in the park because there was some vandalism there,” Newcombe said, pointing out village officials hope cameras will curb the activity or catch someone in the act.
Acts of vandalism at Benedict Field and Port Williams Elementary School would be reported to the RCMP.
Jeff Zwicker of Port Williams Soccer Association said the cost of replacing a net is in the range of hundreds of dollars.
“Unfortunately there is a cost to the community for future seasons as the money required to replace the nets will be drawn directly from registration fees paid by parents of young children in our community,” Zwicker said Aug. 23.
He said the Port Williams Soccer Association is responsible for maintaining and replacing nets at the elementary school. They are one club of several under the umbrella of the Valley District Soccer Association. The Port Williams association independently takes on the financial responsibility of running a club, which includes net and ball replacement, referee costs and more.
Zwicker said various organizations have helped the club with costs over the years. For example, the Village of Port Williams is very supportive of the soccer program by maintaining the fields at the school, including the installation of nets in the spring and removing them in the fall.