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UPDATE: RCMP looking into reports of bullying at Sidney skateboard park

Police investigating after May 22 social media post draws dozens of comments
Fifteen-year-old Callum Stewart, who skateboards in Sidney’s Tulista Park about to to three times a week, says he is not aware of bullying at the skatepark. Sidney/North Saanich RCMP officers are looking into allegations posted on social media. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Sidney/North Saanich RCMP is looking into unconfirmed reports that older children are bullying younger ones at the skateboard facility in Sidney’s Tulista Park.

“It kind of seems like it has been going on for a while, but it hasn’t been reported to us,” said Cpl. Carrie Harding, adding community policing officer Const. Paul Mittelsteadt is looking further into the matter.

Police began looking into the issue after a post appeared on a local Facebook site May 22, Harding said.

Const. Paul Mittelsteadt, community policing officer for Sidney/North Saanich RCMP, is looking into reports of older kids bullying younger kids at the skatepark part of Tulista Park in Sidney. (Black Press Media File)

“Bullying at the Sidney Skate (Park) and community is unbelievable,” the post read. “There are a group of kids who keep bullying other kids, think it’s just ok to be predators and take advantage of others for their own amusement. It shames me to think that it might be time to move out of Sidney because it is no longer a safe place to raise your kids.”

This original post has since drawn more than 100 comments.

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Sabrina Kjm Gauthier, who made the initial post, said she did not personally see the incident but said it involved “one victim” from her family, without sharing details. Those engaging in the bullying were said to be young teens whose motivation also appears unclear.

The incident, she added, also involved unspecified “physical contact.” Gauthier said police were not contacted. “(Instead) several community organizations were approached for assistance.”

Police are nonetheless taking the allegation seriously, with officers stepping up patrols at the skatepark. “And when they are making those patrols, they will be talking to the kids and parents in the area,” Harding said.

The issue has resonated with the public, she added. “It’s obviously of concern to our community and we want to make our patrols more visible and make the community feel comfortable to report anything to our members when they are there.”

Harding said police are not aware of past bullying incidents at the skatepark. “It has always been known as quite a great place for kids to hang out,” she said, noting that parents can always contact police with such concerns. “It is important to report when it is happening.”

Police have not received any complaints since the initial post or the many responses appeared online.

Fifteen-year-old Callum Stewart, who skates two to three times at the park, said there Wednesday afternoon he is not aware of mistreatment of young park users.

“I haven’t heard of any bullying,” he said. While he did recall a fight at the park, he said it occurred in the summer of 2020.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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