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Vandals put bus riders in the cold

It could be a damp and chilly wait for the bus on Gibsons Way this fall thanks to the work of some vandals on Friday night, Sept. 18.

It could be a damp and chilly wait for the bus on Gibsons Way this fall thanks to the work of some vandals on Friday night, Sept. 18.

Sunshine Coast RCMP are looking for information after two bus shelters, one at Payne Road in front of McDonalds, the other at Shaw Road beside the Petro-Canada property, were smashed.

Sgt. Russ Howard said the vandalism occurred between 11:45 p.m. on Friday night and 4 a.m. on Saturday morning.

RCMP will be going over surveillance videos captured from several businesses along Gibsons Way, but in the meantime, tips from the public are welcome.

"We're basically seeking any help the public can give us on this. If anyone saw anything, maybe driving down Gibsons Way that night, let us know," Howard said.

Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) transit and ports manager Cal Bowles said it appeared the Payne Road shelter glass was smashed with a shopping cart.

While the glass has been cleaned up, it could be months before the shelters are repaired. The tempered glass panes must be shipped from Ontario and Bowles said damage to the structures that hold the glass means the shelters may have to be replaced entirely.

"We may have no option but to just remove the shelters for now which is a shame because we haven't even gone through a winter with those shelters in," Bowles said.

The total cost to repair the damage will be between $4,000 and $5,000, which comes at a difficult time as the SCRD transit budget has been cut.

"It's a shame that we have to be doing this when our budget has been cut and we are having to cut hours to the HandyDART," Bowles said.

Bowles said there are some remaining funds leftover in the transportation budget to cover the repairs, but repairs and replacements were never planned for so soon after the bus shelters were erected.

"This type of stuff really bothers me. I just can't get my head around it -this needless vandalism," he said.

A third act of vandalism on SCRD transit property happened Wednesday morning when a person smashed a window on a bus.

RCMP say a male suspect approached a bus stopped at Neilson Road in Roberts Creek and asked the driver what the fare was. After being told the fare, the suspect then stepped off the bus and smashed the side window either with his fist or a walking stick and then walked away.

Bowles said the bus window will cost another $400 to $500 to replace, which will have to come from the transit operating budget.

The suspect is known to RCMP who are actively investigating.

Bowles also asks that any residents with information recent acts of vandalism contact the RCMP at 604-885-2266.