Middle Arm Mayor has boat damaged, says it isn’t coincidence
The mayor of Middle Arm says he believes he’s been the victim of vandalism after damage was apparently done to his boat. However, for the mayor, he says this isn’t the first time he’s been the victim of vandalism – and both instances have happened at very seemingly coincidental times.
Neville Robinson says he noticed the damage to the controls of his boat earlier this week when he went to check on it, behind his house, tied to his wharf.
“I usually go down every couple of days to check around and make sure it’s still tied up, and all that,” he said. Robinson says he uses his boat quite frequently, and was recently using it when his son was visiting from Labrador.
It was a day following his son’s return home that Robinson walked down to his wharf and noticed that his son had forgotten to raise the motor out of the water the last time he used it.
“I try to keep the motor out of the water, because it helps when the wind is on, and I find the boat doesn’t rock and tip as much,” he explained. Robinson walked out on his wharf, got down aboard his boat, and started to tidy up a bit.
“I didn’t notice anything at first, because I was back-on to the controls, but when I turned around to reach for the lever that brought up the motor, I realized that it wasn’t even there anymore.”
Robinson says the Control Box, which handles the motor, and the throttle of his boat was apparently smashed off.
“It’s a heavy piece, and I don’t think it came off very easily,” he explained, “so whatever took it off had a lot of force behind it.”
Perhaps the more curious part of the incident, though, is once he noticed that the controls were gone, Robinson says he started looking around his boat for the debris that would have come with the loss of the controls – however after an extensive search, he found nothing.
It was then, the mayor says, he realized that he was likely dealing with a deliberate act.
“I knew that if there was no debris around, then it wasn’t an accident,” he said. “Someone obviously did this on purpose, and had the sense to clean up after themselves.”
The incident comes at a particularly interesting time as well, since Robinson was only re-elected mayor in September, and he says he faced similar vandalism when he was first elected in 2009.
“After I won the election in 2009, my truck tires were slashed, and I had fuel oil stolen,” he said. “Now, after this election, this happens – I find it hard to think it’s a coincidence.”
Robinson says he reported the incident in 2009 to RCMP, however there was never sufficient evidence to lead to a conviction. He’s also reported this one to police, who have confirmed for him that his suspicions appear to be correct in that this seems to be a deliberate act of vandalism.
“This sort of thing shouldn’t be happening in small towns like ours,” he said. “It’s not just because it’s me – if it happened to anyone, it would still be a shame.”
Regretfully, the mayor says, given his second loss, he’s lost some trust in his community, and says he plans to install security cameras and lighting around his property to ensure future culprits are caught in the act if they should ever strike again.
“It’s a sad day in a small town like this that it has to come to that,” he said. “But sometimes a few people make it bad for everyone else, and then we’re left with incidents like this.”
The mayor says he’s confident that there are those in the community who have information on the incident, and encourages them to call RCMP in Baie Verte, or Crimestoppers anonymously with more information.