A fire allegedly set by three teens has been a setback for an Abbotsford non-profit organization.
The Abbotsford BMX Club suffered damage to its “moto shed” and to some of its merchandise on Canada Day, impacting the volunteer efforts of the group.
The fire was set at about 6:30 p.m. in a garbage can just outside the building – located at Abbotsford Exhibition Park on Haida Drive. Three youths ages 13, 15 and 16 have been charged, according to Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald.
Club president Steve Baxter and treasurer Cindy Landers (in photo below) said the cost to repair the damage is estimated at $2,000, meaning funds that could have been used elsewhere now have to be devoted to the repairs.
The building, converted from an old semi trailer, was not insured. It serves as the club’s home base, where registration takes place; helmets, gloves and jerseys are loaned out; documents are stored; and merchandise is sold.
The fire was contained mainly to the outside of the building, damaging a shutter, a portion of the wood deck, and the skirting around the bottom of the front corner.
Fire crews had to break down a door to get into the building and cut through part of the floor in order to contain the fire.
Items inside the structure suffered smoke and water damage. A prized “super cross signature board” that had been autographed by elite athletes from around the world melted beyond recognition.
The club depends on funds raised through registrations, donations and gaming grants.
Landers and Baxter said the incident is about more than just the physical damage; it devalues the hard work of the club’s members and volunteers.
“To have it disrespected, it hurts,” Baxter said.
On the plus side, he said the incident solidifies the work that the Abbotsford BMX Club does in the community to provide a positive focus for youth.
“It brings it home that there is that (negative) element out in the world and that we’re trying to do something about it,” Baxter said.
The club hopes to have the facility repaired in the next few weeks and back in full use for the Canada Cup Finals being held at the track at the end of September.
“This (the fire) won’t stop us, that’s for sure,” Landers said.
In the past, the moto shed has been subject to break-ins and vandalism. The club hopes to eventually replace it with a more secure permanent structure, but the cost is estimated to be $100,000.
In the meantime, the club is looking at alternatives, such as an ATCO modular building. Anyone with ideas, including fundraising options, is asked to contact the group via email at email@example.com or by phone at 604-308-2291.