Trail bridge completion stalled by generator theft

April 13, 2015   ·   0 Comments

The Island Lake Trail Loop project has been stalled thanks to the theft of the Bob Shirley’s generator, which was being used to help secure and complete the final bridges of the Friends of Island Lake project. Mike Walker, Chair of the Friends of Island Lake Fund Development Committee took to Facebook on Saturday afternoon to ask if anyone might have any information about the theft, and the official FOIL Facebook Page made an announcement regarding the theft yesterday (Sunday).

“Does anyone know who may have stolen the generator from the Friends of Island Lake bridge building worksite behind the cemetery over the last few days?” Mr. Walker posted on the Orangeville and Area Q and A Facebook page. “The community volunteers that are building the bridges were unable to work on this beautiful day since there was no power for the equipment. Shame on whoever did this.”

The generator was stored in a secluded area near the south bridge, covered by a tarp and logs, so the item was not clearly visible.

In an email on Monday morning, Wayne White, FOIL Co-Chair explained that the generator was being used to help volunteers screw in the deck boards for all three bridges as well as the wickets for the railings.

“Because of volunteers doing this labour intensive task, FOIL is saving thousands of dollars to help reduce the cost of construction and make the loop around Island Lake Conservation Area a reality,” explained Mr. White in the email. “Without a generator the task becomes much more difficult.”

Although the theft has not brought work to a complete halt, it has slowed progress, as volunteers have had to move forward using hand drills, which are far more time consuming on a project like this.

“With the generator we were able to use powered stand up drills that are loaded with screw strips, which is much faster and more efficient,” said Mr. White.

Support has flooded in on both Facebook posts, with members of the community expressing their concern and sadness at the situation.

“Sad to think that anyone would do that when the volunteers have done so much to build this treasure for our community,” wrote one poster. “That person should be ashamed and will hopefully return it ASAP.”

Later on in Mr. Walker’s Facebook post, he confirmed that the OPP have the details, and asked that if anyone knows of someone with an older generator that is not theirs to please report it.

Local residents Terri and Gerry Holden generously donated $100 towards a new generator, which Mr. White agreed to match. He noted in his email that if FOIL could raise $1000, the generator could be replaced.

“The thieves have stolen our generator, but they have not robbed us of our will and our determination to complete the west link,” he said.

Anyone who may know anything about the theft is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

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