Not even two weeks after it was built, the gazebo at a new park in Lower Sackville has been vandalized. Several rungs have been kicked out of the structure and the floor has been marred with racist comments and sexually explicit images drawn with pen.
Volunteers are heartbroken.
"We were very upset," said project volunteer Linda Heffler as she dug up rocks and weeds at the site. "But we're still at it."
Built on a piece of land behind the Sackville Library, the public park is an initiative of the volunteer run Acadia Recreation Club.
The volunteers' vision of a beautiful public garden has been coming together with green spaces, trees, shrubs and flowers planted this year, but it does get discouraging when things like this happen.
"We're trying to do something for the community," said 77 year-old volunteer Don MacLennan. "It's just terrible. You hardly want to work at it, but we keep doing it because 98 per cent of the people do appreciate it."
At 16, Millwood High School student Katie McNeil is the youngest volunteer with the club. She became involved to honour her great grandfather who helped build Acadia Hall. She was upset when she saw the damage, but was even more so when she recognized some of the names scrawled on the floor.
"I know these people," she said. "Some of them I've known since Grade 1. It's embarrassing to see. It just makes you wonder ... we all grew up together...what happened? When did it change?"
Kyle Parsons is a Grade 11 student at Millwood High.
"I'm mostly surprised that someone in our age group would be so immature," he said. "There's no need for it. Smarten up. Get a bike, a skateboard, do something."
Sixteen year-old Courtney Johnston, a student at Sackville High agrees. She also believes that the vast majority of kids don't do these kinds of things, and those who do are usually getting into other kinds of trouble as well.
"People should grow up and have better things to do," she said. "They should see how this could actually benefit them - they could use it and enjoy it."
Volunteers can only hope that youth in the community take ownership in the park and protect it from the people trying to ruin it for residents.
"It's sad that they are stupid enough to do this," said 16 year-old Gregor MacDonald, who lives behind the park. "They aren't thinking. When they grow up they'll be the ones bothered by this kind of thing. They are effectively destroying their own inheritance."
Heffler said she was told that the RCMP can't do anything, but that the group is working on a grant to install video cameras.
As for McNeil, she doesn't want to wait. She's gone to the school liaisons at Millwood and Sackville High.
"I want to see them down here on their hands and knees with sandpaper cleaning up their mess," she said.