RCMP in Pemberton are investigating the burning of two school buses, reported at 4:30 a.m. on June 6 by a resident driving down Portage Road. The fires are considered arson with evidence of gasoline tanks and bottles of accelerant on site, and the investigators are looking at past arsons in the area including vandalism and arson involving Pemberton Taxi buses in 2009.
Rick Hume, director of facilities and services for the Sea to Sky School District, said two of the buses were completely destroyed while another suffered minor damage. They were able to adapt to the loss of two buses in the short term and get kids to school.
"That day, Monday, was a collaboration day in Whistler... which freed up one bus and driver, so with the spare bus from Whistler and the spare bus in Pemberton we made it happen," said Hume.
On Tuesday, the school district rented a bus in Vancouver for the remainder of the school year.
As for replacing buses, both were older. One was insured for $50,000 and the other for $25,000. New buses cost $150,000, so even with insurance they will be on the hook for $225,000 as well as the cost of the bus rental - money that just isn't in the district's already tight budget.
They are applying to the province for some emergency funding, but at this point the school district does not know where the funding will come from.
"That's a good question," he said.
If you have any information, contact Corporal Shore of the Pemberton RCMP at 604-894-6634 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Break and enters likely related
Whistler RCMP believe a pair of break and enters reported last week may be related.
Just after 10 a.m. on June 3, the RCMP received a complaint that a vacation residence in the 2400-block of Cheakamus Way had been broken into. The thief kicked a side door in, taking a 42-inch Samsung television and other miscellaneous items. It's not known when the break-in occurred.
Later that day the RCMP received notice of another break-in in the 2700-block of Sproatt Drive, also a vacation residence. In this case the back patio door was smashed to gain entry. A television, artwork and wine were stolen. The break-in happened in the two weeks since the owner last used the property.
The RCMP believes the two incidents could be related and the investigation is continuing.
There was also a break-and-enter reported in Pemberton just before 9 a.m. on June 3. In this case, the front door of business in the 7400-block of Prospect was pried open, with the thief taking a 32-inch Insignia television valued at $350.