UPDATED 1:15 P.M. SUNDAY, JULY 21: Guenette e-mailed the Morning Star to say the community rallied and re-stocked the Lakeview Park box. “There were a few original pieces but someone bought a whole lot of new equipment.”
One minute, the donated playbox at Vernon’s Lakeview Park was full of equipment for all to use.
The next, the box was empty.
The North Okanagan Optimist Club, which has installed playboxes full of bought and donated equipment such as variety of balls, skipping ropes, leg swings, hula hoops, and frisbees at six area parks, is disappointed somebody took all of the equipment from the Lakeview box on Friday.
“It’s very disconcerting,” said Dawn Guenette, playbox coordinator for the Optimist Club. “We put all the stuff in there, and we expect there will be some breakage, but not outright taken away.”
Guenette said she is alerted by people who live near the boxes when the equipment starts to dwindle. She said she was sent a picture by a club member showing the Lakeview box almost empty, and she was getting ready to replace the items when another picture was sent showing the ball to be fuller.
“Somebody decided to put some stuff in there on their own,” said Guenette. But then later, all of the equipment was removed.
This is the third year of the club’s playbox program, a legacy from its highly popular annual Unplug & Play Week held at the end of April.
The boxes are padlocked with a code. All someone has to do is phone the Vernon Recreation Centre for the code to open the box.
One box has been discontinued and removed from a Vernon park because of ongoing problems with equipment being broken.
Guenette will likely restore the Lakeview box with equipment she buys or has been donated.