Oshawa mayor ‘extremely disheartened’ by $50,000 vandalism damage at weeks-old Garden of Human Rights

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Published June 19, 2023 at 1:36 pm

Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter. via Carter's Twitter.

Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter said he was “extremely disheartened” to hear about the extensive vandalism damage at Ed Broadbent Waterfront Park last week, a park that had only been officially opened two weeks prior.

Durham Regional Police reported three teenagers went to the park on June 14 and destroyed much of the park. Investigators allege the teens smashed numerous light poles, a camera and a vending machine. Paint was also splattered on the Human Rights Garden sign. The damage is estimated to cost $50,000 to repair.

Two of the suspected vandals have since been arrested on mischief charges while police believe a third remains at large.

Days prior, on June 5, dignitaries including Broadbent himself, Carter and city council went to the park to formally cut the ribbon. The park was designed to honour Broadbent, 87, who served as Oshawa’s MP from 1968 to 1989 and 14 years as NDP leader.

“With the Ed Broadbent Waterfront Park and its human rights garden, we are honouring the work Mr. Broadbent has done while adding to the rich history of our waterfront for all to visit and enjoy,” Carter said at the opening.

The Human Rights Park in particular was meant to honour Broadbent’s legacy as a staunch defender of the rights of Canadians. He founded International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development in 1988 and the Broadbent Institute in 2011. The Garden of Human Rights features 13 garden beds representing the 13 prohibited grounds of discrimination within the Canadian Human Rights Act and “is a unique place for quiet reflection and contemplation.”

On June 19, Carter voiced how he was saddened and frustrated about the damage in statement. “We are severely disappointed by these criminal acts of violence and the destruction of such a beautiful space,” he said, “More importantly, I am disheartened by the visual impact, including the very noticeable damage to the Garden of Human Rights.”

He noted the damage to the park’s lighting could impact the city’s Evening in the Park programs until repaired.

“While it is not uncommon for communities to occasionally experience graffiti and some vandalism to public amenities, the damage to Ed Broadbent Waterfront Park and Garden of Human Rights is extensive and costly,” Carter continued. However, the park isn’t all that’s been vandalized of late.  City plants have been pulled from the ground in some public parks and graffiti and damage have appeared throughout the city including on small businesses.

“I urge all community members to help bring an end to these incidents of destruction and vandalism to public spaces and private properties. If you see something that does not seem quite right, report it,” Carter concluded, “Let’s show pride in our city and work together to keep Oshawa beautiful for all of us to enjoy.”

In a follow up the city said there were more than 200 incidents of vandalism reported in 2022 on city property. The city said 50 of these incidents were considered significant. The total does not include vandalism against private property.

“In addition to the costs of cleanup and repairs, vandalism affects the ability to enjoy our trails, parks and green spaces. Vandalism to playground equipment, sports amenities and outdoor features prevents children and visitors from using our amazing neighbourhood parks,” the city said.

Residents can report grafitti and damages to Service Oshawa over the phone at 905-436-3311 or online. It can also be reported to the police at 9-1-1 for emergencies and serious crimes in progress or the non-emergency line at 905-579-1520 or online.

 

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