Kids responsible for burnt down youth centre in Cambridge Bay, say police

·2 min read
The remains of the Cambridge Bay youth centre after a fire destroyed the building in May.  (Jane George/CBC - image credit)
The remains of the Cambridge Bay youth centre after a fire destroyed the building in May. (Jane George/CBC - image credit)

Children are responsible for the May 23 fire that destroyed the youth centre in Cambridge Bay, the Nunavut RCMP has confirmed.

But no charges will be laid against the children.

"They are under the age of 12 therefore according to Section 13 of the Criminal Code, they may not be held criminally accountable," the RCMP's media spokesperson Pauline Melanson told CBC.

The children entered the youth centre, which was unlocked during the night, said Keith Morrison of the Cambridge Bay Fire Department.

They admitted to setting the fire  once inside, he said.

"Based on my understanding it was entirely deliberate," Morrison said. "I can't speculate as to what they were thinking. It's upsetting that sort of thing happens."

After receiving an alarm, Morrison and the team of volunteer firefighters were on the scene of the fire early May 23, Victoria Day.

But they were unable to save the building that dated from the 1950s.

"It is a loss to the community," Morrison said.

Jane George/CBC
Jane George/CBC

About a third of Cambridge Bay, with a population of about 2,000, is under 15 years old, according to Statistics Canada.

Now the activities provided to them by their youth centre have been spread around Cambridge Bay, said its chief administrative officer Jim MacEachern.

"A lot of the community has stepped up and offered support and we're going to continue to maximize any space that's available," MacEachern said. "So far the hamlet has done a pretty good job at identifying spaces."

The kids breakfast and lunch program has been moved to the youth shelter and the Get Happy Summer Day Camp, which starts June 27 and runs for six weeks, will take place at the community hall.

Construction on a new youth centre facility will only be able to start after the sealift barge arrives in 2023, MacEachern said.

Insurance adjusters are still evaluating the financial loss, he said.

Last weekend, the City of Iqaluit's recreation department held a fundraiser for the Cambridge Bay's future youth centre.

"We appreciate their support and the support of everyone across Nunavut," MacEachern said.

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