Kanesatake Canoe Club bathroom destroyed by vandalism

·2 min read

The portable bathroom at the Kanesatake Canoe Club was destroyed last weekend when somebody rammed into it, leading to calls for better security in the area.

“For the most part, most of the locals respect it and keep the area clean, but we get a few people after dark that do the damage and ruin stuff for the kids and the rest of the community,” said Kane Montour, a member of Kanesatake Perimeter Security.

Montour said he’s seen issues such as people partying there at night, unsafe driving, and broken glass where kids play on the beach. A wooden structure on the nearby powwow grounds was rammed recently as well, he said.

The bathroom that was damaged was owned, not rented, by the Kanesatake Health Center (KHC), which purchased it about five years ago because of graffiti that could not be removed, according to former employee Dave Nelson.

“It was not salvageable for our needs, unfortunately,” said Teiawenniserate Jeremy Tomlinson, KHC’s executive director.

KHC currently operates the Canoe Club and runs summer day camps and other programming there.

Given the importance of having a toilet on site, KHC has already replaced the portable bathroom with a rental.

“It’s a shame that we had to deal with that and spend more programming dollars to replace this,” said Tomlinson. “It’s to the detriment of everyone when individuals act in a reckless manner and damage communal property and lands."

The new toilet has been surrounded by boulders to protect it while KHC looks into a permanent solution.

“There were no witnesses and there were no security measures in place at that time,” said Tomlinson. “We are currently exploring options and we are always open to support from and collaboration with MCK.”

Mohawk Council of Kanesatake (MCK) chief Brant Etienne, whose portfolios include justice and policing, is aware of issues at the Canoe Club.

“We’re looking at options to increase security at the area, but overall we’re looking at funding and manpower and what options are available,” he said.

He acknowledged calls for a camera to be installed as a potential short-term solution.

“Many families and community members use the beach on a regular basis,” said Nelson, who helped place the boulders around the new toilet and sometimes volunteers to clean the beach.

“Many community members have donated their time, equipment, and money into revitalizing the beach area for the community to enjoy, and in one night someone destroys a very big practical part of the paddling club.

“How do you run programs without a bathroom? At the end of the day, it’s the community that suffers from the actions of an individual or individuals.”

gmbankuti@gmail.com

Marcus Bankuti, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door

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