Steelhead Park in the District of Houston has recently seen a rise in vandalism and theft of plants.
Rachelle Barden, who is in charge of maintaining and landscaping for the park, along with her husband Tom, recently posted on Facebook, pictures of the uprooted plants, some missing, some strewn across the ground after pulling them out.
“Lately there have been some miscreants at night stealing a bunch of plants. In all the 16 years that I have been working here, there has been hardly any vandalism, there has been an odd time or two when somebody drew on a picnic table or something and I am proud of our town that we have such good people in our town for the most part, but it is disheartening that there are people running around, thieves who just don’t care about our town,” said Barden.
Barden discovered the missing perennials and the recklessly abandoned annuals last week, and took to Facebook to express her disappointment and outrage at such acts of vandalism.
“The thieves have been ripping out annuals and leaving them there, but they have been taking the perennials so they are obviously trying to start a new flower bed. And the perennials are expensive,” she said, adding that once such damage is done, it becomes an expensive and time-consuming activity to clear up the mess.
Barden’s company Blu-Sky Landscaping owns the contract for landscaping the park, through the District of Houston. So any small vandalism has to be repaired and paid for by the company. Apart from the monetary impact of vandalism, the aesthetic of the park also suffers according to Barden as the couple always plans and plants carefully to make the park have a certain design and pattern. Barden then has to move around other plants from the park and “it ends up kind of looking ugly.”
“I don’t want people looking at each other suspiciously, but I want people to be aware that if they are walking late at night, there are thieves out and about and that they can keep an eye on it if they see something that looked suspicious, like if you see someone in the flower beds at night, that’s not us out there working but that could be somebody stealing,” she said adding that since the couple can’t be at the park at all times keeping a watch, it is up to the people in the community to be vigilant.
Barden is also urging the community to either inform the district’s Manager of Operations, Chris Lawrence or the RCMP in case they see someone stealing or vandalizing.
“I am just hoping that the thieves will stop stealing really because the park is there for the town, it is not there for me, it is my job but it is there for everybody to enjoy it but it’s a sad thing that people would do that. And I hope that they will now know that we all are keeping an eye out for them,” she said.