Okotoks Mayor Tanya Thorn went live on Facebook this afternoon (May 31) to express disappointment in a recent case of vandalism.

A fire was set in an outdoor public bathroom at Bill Robertson Park, causing significant damage to the interior.

The washroom included a large changing table, which sustained an estimated $3000 worth of damage alone.

A PVC pipe stretching from the floor to the ceiling was melted away, as was a wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispenser.

Thorn estimates that the town has seen 55-65 incidents of graffiti and other vandalism in town and estimates its cost the town just under $50,000 to clean up.

Other incidents of vandalism and destruction have targeted these kinds of washrooms, but this time around, Thorn felt it needed to be highlighted.

"I think we need to start calling it out more often and showcasing the impact on our community. Our staff is really awesome, they just come in and deal with it. They get it cleaned up; they close it. The sign says it's closed for repairs, but it doesn't say why it's closed for repairs."

The fire was fortunately confined to the concrete structure, though nearly the whole interior was charred.

"This fire wasn't going anywhere in the scheme of things, but we're super dry, we're dealing with a crazy wildfire season. This is just dumb. It's high risk, it's just dumb. You want a municipality that's going to invest in nice amenities and services for our community but if we're going to destroy them, what's the point of making the original investment," says Thorn.

bathroom fireAn image of the bathroom taken before repairs began. (Photo courtesy of the Town of Okotoks.)

The fire is believed to have been set on Sunday and has been closed since.

Speaking in a live stream on her Facebook page, Thorn encouraged locals to step up if they have any information on these kinds of incidents or see them happening.

"There's somebody in our community that knows who did this, there is somebody in our community that probably saw this occur. We need you to come forward and say something, and if you are out and about and you see something that looks off, we need you to say something. Reach out to municipal enforcement and just raise the flag, it allows them to come check it out and maybe stop something like that."

Anyone with information on vandalism incidents can reach Okotoks Municipal Enforcement at (403) 995-3602. 

You can also contact Crime Stopper anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at www. P3Tips.com or by using the P3 Tips app.