Edmonton community league hall vandalized for a second time, one week before reopening

Before and after photographs of the Riverbend community league's Brookside Hall, which was damaged by vandals early on New Year's Eve. (Nancy Wendt, Miep Raedschelders - image credit)
Before and after photographs of the Riverbend community league's Brookside Hall, which was damaged by vandals early on New Year's Eve. (Nancy Wendt, Miep Raedschelders - image credit)

A week before it was set to reopen after being vandalized in October, a community hall in southwest Edmonton was heavily damaged by vandals over the weekend.

Brookside Hall, one of two rental spaces operated by the Riverbend community league, was vandalized during the early hours of New Year's Eve.

League president Miep Raedschelders said the damage is extensive.

Vandals tore down a suspended ceiling and smeared floors with paint. Someone spray-painted racial slurs on the walls. Bathroom fixtures, an electric range and other kitchen appliances were smashed. Wiring and plumbing was also damaged.

"There is really no aspect of the hall that was left untouched," Raedschelders told CBC's Edmonton AM on Monday.

"It's heartbreaking, really."

The building, at 5320 143rd St., had recently been renovated with new flooring after being vandalized in October. In that incident, the floor and ceiling were damaged after a fire extinguisher was discharged on everything in the hall.

"The damage is far worse than the first time around, so it's going to be quite some time before our hall is able to open up," Raedschelders said.

Miep Raedschelders
Miep Raedschelders

Edmonton police responded to the break-and-enter at 10:38 a.m. on Saturday. Although they don't have any suspects yet, police said they are continuing to investigate.

In the meantime, all community league programs and events continue to be on hold. They include skating, play groups for moms and toddlers, and Girl Guides of Canada and Pathfinders meetings.

Community leagues are volunteer-run organizations. Raedschelders said it takes years of fundraising, grant applications and volunteer hours for projects to get completed.

"To see it all washed away. It certainly is a bit demoralizing," she said.

"I don't even know really where to go with this next. I mean, thank goodness we have a decent, or a very good, relationship with our insurance company."

Because the community league didn't have its own surveillance video footage, police are seeking camera images from anyone who was in the area of 53rd Avenue and 143rd Street early on Saturday.

"We'd be very appreciative because we'd hate to see this happen to other halls or other communities in Edmonton," Raedschelders said.

The community league also operates Riverbend community centre on Rhatigan Road East.