Vandals damage Delhi soccer field
This was the result of two vehicles entering the E & E McLaughlin Sports Park soccer fields in Delhi late Saturday/early Sunday. At this point, Norfolk Soccer Club board members are unsure just how much it will cost to repair the extensive damage, and how they'll fund the venture. JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer
Members of the Delhi-based Norfolk Soccer Club feel like they've been handed an off-season red card.
Two unknown drivers elected to take their vehicles on both fields at E & E McLaughlin Sports Park late Saturday/early Sunday.
A small red car similar to a Dodge Neon and a full-sized pickup truck performed a few doughnuts causing significant damage on what was a damp evening. The vehicles also caused major damage to a nearby farm crop on Old Hill Road near Schafer Sideroad as well.
Soccer club treasurer Mandie Marques got the news Sunday and immediately went to assess the situation.
“I was in disbelief,” she said Monday. “We're a small group of volunteers that put as much effort and time into keeping those fields in perfect condition as we can and then you've got somebody that goes over there that has no care in the world - out for a good time - and ruins it.”
While the board of eight is thankful the incident didn't take place during the season, it has put the club in a bind. They won't know the estimated cost of repairs, or if any sprinkler heads were damaged, until the spring. Almost 300 players represent the Norfolk club each spring/summer, most being young children.
“As soon as the spring hits – as soon as we can – we're going to have to get in there and fix it,” said Marques.
How the club will go about funding the repairs isn't yet known.
“We don't want to have to put up registration fees for the kids but we're a non-profit club,” Marques explained. “We're going to have to come up with the money somewhere or maybe somebody that's in that business that can donate their time (will) help out in the spring.”
“It's definitely a cost that we weren't expecting.”
The club is working with police and reviewing its surveillance footage but their main focus is getting the fields back to playing condition by the time the 2018 season is ready to begin.
Marques urged the people involved with the acts to consider what they've done and stop before doing something similar in the future.
“On behalf of our soccer club, people need to think before they go out and joyride,” she began. “They need to realize that we're all volunteers and we put all of our time and effort into making a great sports facility for our community.”
Anyone with information is being urged to contact Norfolk OPP (1-888-310-1122) or Crime Stoppers (1-800-222-8477).
The vandals could be looking at charges including mischief and trespassing on private property, said Norfolk OPP Const. Ed Sanchuk.
“People are tired of having property stolen and vandalism (committed) to their property for no apparent reason, so these people need to be held accountable,” Sanchuk added.
“In a case like this, I can guarantee you it's just a matter of time before we come knocking on their door because someone from the public will reach out and let us know exactly what happened here.”