‘We are going to rebuild’: Riverbend Neighborhood League corridor vandalized once more – Edmonton

The Riverbend Community League hall was seriously vandalized this weekend, just one week before it was set to reopen.

A volunteer went in on Saturday morning to find the building that the organization had been working to restore was vandalized. It was previously broken into and vandalized in October.

Dry wall was ripped out. Chairs were stuck into the walls. Every ceiling panel was smashed. Slurs and derogatory comments were spray-painted on the walls. Wiring and lighting was hanging from the ceiling. The washrooms and kitchens were smashed.

“There’s no aspect of this hall that went untouched,” said the league’s president, Miep Raedschelders.

Ceiling tiles ripped out at the Riverbend Community League hall, Dec. 31, 2022.

Global News

“When you walk in and see the building completely destroyed, it’s not just the building itself that you lose. It’s that hope for connection, it’s the building of community, it’s the opportunities for neighbors to build those relationships with one another and build a more animated and resilient community,” Raedschelders said.

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The league is made up of volunteers who run the centre.

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“When we walked in here knowing how much time and effort it takes by volunteers to put this together, it’s pretty demoralizing to see all your efforts just washed away.”

There’s a ripple effect with this vandalism that affects the community as well, Raedschelders said. The building being out of commission means all programs that run through it can no longer be offered. New space needs to be found for groups like Girl Guides and daycares. They also can’t access their water room which means they can’t prepare the outdoor rinks.

The community hasn’t had access to these programs for the past few months.

Washroom features at the Riverbend Community League hall were smashed and destroyed, Dec. 31, 2022.

Global News

Raedschedlers said they were waiting to add some final touches to the newly restored building and start programming again this week.

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“We will rebuild. This is important to the community, this is a space that helps define who we are as a community,” she said. “Leagues do that – it’s a powerful movement.”

The response from the community has been “phenomenal,” she said, and it’s a wave they are going to ride to get things back up and running.

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