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Can it get any worse?

Two weeks ago I penned an editorial about the ongoing vandalism and destruction of the Gibsons skatepark in Brothers Park.

Two weeks ago I penned an editorial about the ongoing vandalism and destruction of the Gibsons skatepark in Brothers Park.The topic came out of the previous week's council meeting where council was at their wits end trying to come up with a solution to stop the vandalism. Mayor Barry Janyk even said it might be an idea just to fill the bowl with sand and take away the park.

That statement and the editorial set a few people off and we received several letters to the editor, which we published in the May 23 edition. Since then, council has met with Sunshine Coast Regional District parks and recreation staff and some youth members to try to come up with solutions to the problem. It's a step in the right direction. I don't want to see the skatepark disappear, and I don't think council does either, but the problem needs to be fixed.

But while the problem of vandalism and misuse of the skatepark is one issue, there appears to be another issue that is slowly bubbling on the surface - the general problem of vandalism and senseless destruction of people's property.

We have a story in today's edition that is a follow-up piece to a story about a Gibsons house that was trashed a few months back. A wild party at the home resulted in more than $10,000 worth of damage. The owners of the home are naturally upset, not just because of the damage, but because of the apparent lack of common sense and respect shown by the partygoers and the apparent lack of concern by area residents while the damage was done.

Last weekend there was another big party, this time involving more than 100 youth, in the area known as Little Africa in Gospel Rock. One frustrated resident called me on Monday detailing the noise, foul language and egging of cars that ensued during and after the party. Several youth climbed over this resident's fence in an attempt to cut through his backyard. He told me it was lucky he had his dogs in the house, because who knows what could have happened to the youths had they jumped over the fence while the dogs were out. They could have been attacked and seriously injured or killed.

We're just a little over a month away from the end of school. If these parties and acts of vandalism are happening when school is in session, just imagine what it could be like come summer time. It could get much worse before it gets better.

I'm not trying to brand all youth as bad. There are certainly many upstanding young people with good heads on their shoulders who are respectful to the community in which they live. But all it takes is one bad apple to spoil the bunch, and lately it seems there are far too many bad apples.

I'm wondering: where are the parents of these misguided youngsters? Why are they allowing their children out late at night, walking the streets, drinking illegally and destroying property? I'm all for parties, having fun and letting loose once in a while. I did some dumb things, too, when I was young, but I never trashed a house, egged a car or destroyed a skatepark for fun -call it a good upbringing, call it common sense. My point in all this is we as a community have to start treating each other with a lot more respect. Have some respect for our public spaces, have some respect for other people's property and find more constructive things to do on a Friday night.