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Under siege
Rankin friendship centre reeling from damage, theft

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre is going high tech in an attempt to cut down on vandalism, but even that might not be enough.

NNSL photo/graphic

George Dunkerley, executive director of the Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre, shows the area near the Tormont garage where the friendship centre's 72-passenger bus was heavily vandalized in Rankin Inlet earlier this month. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

The centre recently had more than $10,000 in damages done to its three school buses, and its ATV was stolen for a third time.

Two of the centre's buses were damaged on their own property, while its 72-person bus was heavily vandalized while sitting in the outdoor lot at the Tormont garage, waiting for a part to arrive so it could be inspected.

The bus suffered extensive damage, needing more than $9,750 in repairs.

The centre is preparing to install an infrared camera security system to help protect its property.

Executive director George Dunkerley said the centre's smaller bus had more than $1,000 in damages, when its fire extinguishers were set off and a wire harness stripped from under its dash.

He said its mid-size bus had its seats slashed, and the centre is looking at yet another $400 for new seat covers.

"The first time our Honda was stolen we found it and dragged it back," said Dunkerley.

"The second time it was stolen, I put a notice about it on our Facebook page and it magically reappeared three days later.

"But, this time it seems to be gone for good.

Our staff members looked all-over town for the machine, but there just hasn't been any sign of it so far."

Dunkerley said the ongoing thefts and acts of vandalism have become maddening and extremely frustrating.

He said the vandalism at the centre keeps being blamed on kids, but he doesn't see it that way.

"I just can't see kids taking the time to look up under a dash to pull wires out.

"Most of them wouldn't even know there were wires in there.

"Plus, an empty 40-ounce bottle of rum was found sitting under one of the seats.

"You don't, usually, see too many young kids roaming around Rankin Inlet with 40-ouncers of rum."

The centre, which revolves around community programming, cannot afford the added drain on its tight budget the ongoing problem is causing.

Dunkerley said he's down to the last thing he can think of to get the vandalism to stop at the friendship centre, and that's bringing in a night vision camera and security system to try and catch those responsible.

However, he's at a loss over the senseless damage to the bus sitting near the Tormont garage.

"If nothing else, at least we should be able to keep an eye on stuff that's sitting right in our yard with the security system.

"Heaven forbid something else should happen, but, hopefully, if it does, we'll at least have a picture of somebody if it's done near our building.

"It's just getting ridiculous in Rankin.

"When I arrived here in 1989 nobody even locked their houses, but now we have to chain our trucks to the buildings."

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