'It's hurting the community': Inuvik daycare disheartened after 17 solar panels damaged

As Patricia Davison opens the gate and starts pointing at the damage done to solar panels on the side of the Children First daycare, she exclaimed, "It's really high."

Davison is the executive director of the Children First Society, which runs a child-care facility in Inuvik, N.W.T. She said they're disheartened after 17 of its solar panels were vandalized sometime around June 15-16.

She said the vandalism happened about a week after two of its panels were repaired by Green Sun Rising, the company that had installed them.

"It was one of those moments that was a little bit unbelievable," she said.

"In two years we had damage on two panels, which I thought was pretty great, and then when I came in last Saturday, it was 17 panels."

She said community and family members came by at around the same time and were wondering how and why the panels were shattered in places or had holes in them.

Mackenzie Scott/CBC

Davison said the organization had the solar panels installed to go more "green" and help save a little bit of money.

"It is generating a couple of thousand dollars during the months where we have the sunny season," she said.

Davison said the panels are insured and the society is working with the insurance company to "find out how that will all work and what it means."

Each panel costs $400 to replace

In total, the daycare has around 70 panels on two sides of its building. The damaged panels are on the side of the building closest to Jim Koe Park.

The damaged panels still function, but Davison said if water gets in, that's when they will start to deteriorate. 

"As soon as one is not functioning, then it can affect the whole system. We are hoping to get it figured out and replaced before too much time passes."

Davison said each panel costs about $400, so to replace all 17 it will costs $6,800, and that doesn't include the cost of installation.

Aside from the financial hit, Davison said it's a disheartening situation for the community and the children who the daycare serve. Those children don't understand why the damage was done.

"Our organization is for the community so anytime something like this happens, it impacts the community, and it's hurting the community. And I think that's … the saddest part of this type of damage."

Davison said the building already has security cameras. She said there have been discussions of adding more, but no decisions have been made yet.

The RCMP is investigating the incident.