Neighbours and Coquitlam city staff are expressing outrage after an axe vandal chopped down several trees and damaged a bench this week in Mundy Park.
The damage was first brought to public attention when longtime Coquitlam resident Peter Chan was out walking his dog early Wednesday morning, March 26.
When he passed one of the ballparks, he noticed a downed alder tree had crashed into a chain-link fence.
“I thought nothing of it. I thought it was the wind,” he said, pointing to a day of heavy rain.
'IT WAS STILL HANGING'
On Thursday, Chan was out once again walking his 30-pound Scotland Sheltie — what Chan describes as “a small version of Lassie” — when the Coquitlam man noticed a holly tree had also been felled.
“I could see someone had used a small hatchet — the marks were there, it was still hanging,” he said.
When he checked on the alder from the day before, sure enough, he said, it wasn’t the wind.
Chan took photos of the two trees and posted them to a Facebook group for Mundy Park dog walkers.
“A lot of people were outraged,” said Chan, adding that someone mentioned more damage near Spani pool.
So on Friday, Chan walked further than normal and found an old oak tree with a memorial plaque had been hacked at in the same manner. To make matters worse, a nearby bench had been chopped up in the process.
Chan said he immediately reported the damage to the city of Coquitlam’s department of parks, recreation, culture and facilities.
CITY OF COQUITLAM INVESTIGATING
By Saturday, the city of Coquitlam had removed the damaged and downed trees, said Chan, and had wrapped the vandalized bench in yellow warning tape.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart confirmed the city was aware of vandalism to a bench and three trees. He said the damage didn’t appear to be “a very skilled hatchet job,” leading him to believe it was an act of vandalism as opposed to someone cutting trees in any systematic way.
“The city reviewed the damage and is trying to find out what happened,” Stewart said. “It’s sickening to think that someone with an axe to grind is pointing it at our trees and infrastructure.”
Chiming in on the Mundy Park dog walking group, Stewart said “we’re working on it” and to contact the city if anyone has any information that would identify “the sick person who did this.”
Meanwhile, Chan has his own message for fellow residents of the area: “Watch out for this jerk who has nothing better to do than to cut down these good, healthy trees.”