Theft strikes sour note with independent school

Mulch stolen from Arts Calibre Academy at Gordon Head United Church

Arts Calibre Academy teacher Amanda McAlpine and principal Sandra Walton

Arts Calibre Academy teacher Amanda McAlpine and principal Sandra Walton

An independent school in Gordon Head is disheartened after someone made off with most of their mulch in the middle of the night.

Between the night of Friday, July 8 and the late morning of Saturday, July 9, a person or group of people pulled into the parking lot of the Gordon Head United Church – the new home for Arts Calibre Academy – and stole the majority of the school’s mulch, according to the school’s founder and principal Sandra Walton. The independent school, which teaches the B.C. curriculum through arts infusion, is in the process of moving into the church and had recently been beautifying the outside of the property.

“There were tire tracks backed up and the mulch was basically gone,” said Walton. “One of the office assistants had a crew coming in on the weekend – we had the mulch and the soil that we were going to be working with, but when he came in, someone had taken it.”

“We had six yards of it and we used two, so there must’ve been at least four yards left,” said teacher Amanda McAlpine. “That’s quite a lot, and it was expensive.”

In preparation for the move, Walton said the school had put on numerous fundraisers, from benefit concerts to shows to plant sales, to raise money for projects like fixing up the garden at the property. Many of the students were involved in the fundraising efforts, and for someone to steal from them is disheartening, said Walton.

“It just makes me worried,” she said. “I never even thought that somebody would do that. There was a sizeable pile. There was enough to finish what we needed to do.”

Walton reported the stolen mulch to the police, but said they haven’t found anything yet. The school also has a pile of soil on the property and they’ve since placed a sign, asking the thieves not to take their soil should they return to the scene of the crime.

“I was going to put it in the mulch – I thought there was a little bit left, but there wasn’t enough to put the sign in, so I put it in the soil instead,” said Walton.

While she may never see the mulch again, Walton said she hopes someone in the community knows where it went or may have seen who took it. She also wants her neighbours to be aware that thieves may be around, even in a neighbourhood like Gordon Head.

“We’re just hoping to raise awareness,” said Walton. “And if anyone has any extra mulch, we’d love it.”


Anyone with information about the mulch can contact Walton through the school at 250-382-3533 or email, or the Saanich Police non-emergency line at 250-475-4321.