Vandalism getting the best of the community

Prices at the Beacon Theatre may be going up soon and not because the community owned cinema suffers from a lack of public support.

Prices at the Beacon Theatre may be going up soon and not because the community owned cinema suffers from a lack of public support.

Michael Riis-Christianson, president of the Lakes District Film Society, the non-profit organization that owns and operates the theatre said to Lakes District News that the group may have to raise theatre ticket prices to compensate for damage being done by vandals.

“We don’t want to raise our prices, because our goal is to make the theatre affordable for all local residents, but vandalism is starting to have a negative impact on our operations,” Riis-Christianson said.

“We’re looking at beefing up our security system to discourage these miscreants, and the only way to pay for a system like that may be to increase the cost of admission, at least in the short-term.”

Riis-Christianson said incidents of vandalism have increased steadily over the past few months.

“Initially, vandals were leaving our little community owned theatre alone,” he said.

“However, we’re now seeing damage done to the outside of the building almost nightly.

Our exterior poster holders have been damaged, the posters inside have been removed and ripped up, letters have been stolen from the marquee and the Canucks flag we erected lasted only one night. Two days ago, we came in to find that the miscreants responsible had ripped off our handicapped access ramp and thrown it away. Now how low is that?”

The wilful damage being done to the theatre is disheartening to both society members and staff, Riis-Christianson said.

“Our team is working very hard to make the theatre a success for the benefit of this community, and we’ve had great support from most local residents,” he said.

Riis-Christianson knows the latest rash of vandalism is hurting other local businesses and said he intends to ask Burns Lake RCMP to increase patrols in the area after dark.

“This kind of behaviour has to stop,” he concluded. “The damage to downtown businesses is being perpetrated by a few ‘bad apples’ who seem intent on ruining things for everyone else.”