Vandalism temporarily cuts power to massive Riverview holiday light display

·2 min read
A cleanly cut cord still attached to one of the trees in Riverview.  (Shane Magee/CBC - image credit)
A cleanly cut cord still attached to one of the trees in Riverview. (Shane Magee/CBC - image credit)

Light Up Riverview has temporarily gone dark.

The Christmas display with about 52,000 lights along the banks of the Petitcodiac River was vandalized early Thursday morning.

Riverview Mayor Andrew LeBlanc called it a substantial amount of damage, affecting about 90 per cent of the trees that had lights.

The dazzling display has been an attraction to the town's riverfront over the holiday season and was set to be left on until the end of January.

The town estimates repairs to the strings of commercial-grade lights will cost around $4,000. On Friday, electrical crews were on-site starting to repair the damage as snow began to fall.

"It's certainly disappointing," LeBlanc said. "This is a really popular attraction with our residents. Not only that, but it brings in people to Riverview from outside the municipality and promotes the Greater Moncton region as well."

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC

The mayor said the aim is to get the lights back on by next week. Some parts that need to be repaired needed to be ordered, he said.

That damage included cut wires, cords that were removed, smashed bulbs and strings of wires that appeared to be yanked off a gazebo. LeBlanc said there was also damage to some of the electrical plug boxes.

He said it doesn't appear the damage was an attempt to steal copper wiring.

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC

"To my knowledge, this is just straight vandalism. This wasn't anything regarding theft of copper wire or anything like that. It was just straight vandalism."

LeBlanc said Codiac Regional RCMP are investigating the damage.

The town had commissioned licensed drone photographer Brent Smith of Osprey Cove Productions to film the display's launch in November.

The lights, adorning dozens of trees, a lighthouse and gazebo, went on in 2018 and remain installed year-round. The lights stretch from around the Chocolate River Station east along Coverdale Road for one kilometre to the Gunningsville Bridge area.

Riverview council approved spending $65,000 to expand the display this year, though now some of that funding will be used for repairs.

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC
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