The town of Riverview, N.B., will be unable to expand its Christmas lights display as planned this year.
At a council meeting on Monday, the town decided that the expansion money will be reallocated to the $60,000 repair bill it’s facing after over 3,000 metres of copper wiring was stolen from the display in June.
“A couple times this year people have vandalized the display. In January people just vandalized it and cut wires, but this most recent act of vandalism people came and removed the copper wire from under the ground and did much more extensive damage,” councillor-at-large Heath Johnson said in an interview on Wednesday.
The repairs for the vandalism incident in January cost the town roughly $6,000.
“We’re talking about replacing the wire with aluminum wire instead of copper wire, because it has a lower resale value and we’re hoping that will deter future thefts,” he said.
Trail users like Riaz Akhtar find the theft and vandalism disappointing.
“I’m very disappointed. I walk along here every day and I would like to see people take better care of the property. I have seen vandalism before but this is too much,” he said.
Riverview resident Norma Boyd told Global News she would like to see measures put in place to stop this from happening again.
“It is a trail that is dark, it’s treed, so more lighting along the way, maybe that would help things and bring more attraction to the drivers who can see what’s going on along the trail,” she said.
Johnson said council has discussed installing deterrents like lights or surveillance cameras but has held off due to the cost.
“Our thought is, it’s a long distance, it’s well over a kilometre so it would require quite an investment,” he said.
“So there’s been a question of cost benefit here, normally the vandalism we’ve seen in the past hasn’t been that valuable, it has been less than it would have cost us to install and maintain all of those things so we haven’t done that. We may decide to reevaluate that position given the scope of the vandalism this time,” he said.
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