The future of Storybook Village and Alphabet Garden in Qualicum Beach is uncertain and looking for input.

Future foggy for Storybook Village in Qualicum Beach

Vandalism, closure of elementary school, presenting challenges for the children's attraction

With its future in jeopardy, Storybook Village is looking for a happy ending.

The child-scale village has been a family hub in the middle of Qualicum Beach for five years, but Building Learning Together is struggling to maintain it and is looking to the community for ideas and support.

Available to all children, any day of the week and active during special events, the village has a fire hall, theatre, Victorian house, gas station, grocery store, library, bank and hospital, all linked by a paved roadway for pedal cars, trikes and bikes with traffic light and signs.

“There has been repeated vandalism to both the village and Alphabet Garden,” said BLT manager Judi Malcolm.

As recently as a couple weeks ago, and many times a year, “there are break-ins, windows are broken, it looks like folks are just looking for a place to hang out.”

She said the high-profile location, on the property of the former elementary school, helps bring in families to enjoy it as intended, but also makes it a target after hours, especially since the school closed last summer.

“There was a bong left behind and… evidence of sexual activity,” she said choosing her words carefully. “There has been graffiti and damage inside, signs pushed over, things broken.”

And aside from that the nonprofit charity which runs learn-through-play facility is struggling to keep up with the regular maintenance, with some of the wood buildings starting to “have issues with wear and tear,” Malcolm said.

“The physical maintenance of the grounds and buildings are just too much for our limited resources,” she said, adding the partner school district has done what it can.

And so they are turning to the community that was so involved in developing the site.

“The community rallied together to make it happen,” Malcolm said in a news release. “Community members, organizations and businesses from all over Oceanside built Storybook Village,” with funding from grants and donations, assembled by local businesses and community partners.

They invite everyone, including those early supporters and especially the families who use it, to join them next Wednesday to discuss the future of Storybook Village and Alphabet Garden.

“It is important to know if the community values it. If they do, we need to find a way to sustain it.”

She pointed to the high use the site gets with events like their Halloween Spooktacular, bike rodeo and other partner groups who host things like an archeological dig, storytelling, play dough exploration, face painting and other activities, as evidence the community does value the site.

She said her best hope is to find an existing service group, company, or specially formed group “to take over as stewards to work with BLT to maintain the site and keep it as the community asset it was originally intended.”

She suggested it may no longer be sustainable, or might best be moved to another location. They are open to all ideas and just looking to get the community involved in the conversation.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, February 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the former elementary school library (744 Primrose Street.

Just Posted

Gas prices on Vancouver Island to drop six cents

But a ‘volatile’ market could lead to increases in the coming weeks

Ian Thorpe named as new chairman of RDN board

Electoral Area E director Bob Rogers to serve as vice-chairman

Little Qualicum Cheeseworks cheese linked to 5 E. coli cases in B.C.

People are asked to throw out or return ‘Qualicum Spice’ cheese

Nanoose Bay teen aims to build a bionic arm

Prosthetic prototype project latest in Ballenas student’s math, tech ambitions

Throw a snowball to help kids at BC Children’s Hospital

Effort will raise money for sick kids over the holidays

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Canada Post strike having ‘critical’ impact on retailers, eBay tells PM

Canada Post says it is now facing an unprecedented backlog of shipments, largely as a result of strikes

NASA wants Canadian boots on the moon as first step in deep space exploration

The U.S. is seeking broad international support for the next-generation space station to send into orbit a in 2021

B.C. Lions GM Ed Hervey has plan for busy off-season

The Lions’ season ended Sunday with a crushing 48-8 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the East Division semifinal

Fundraising firefighters complete quest for B.C. Paralympian

The four Penticton residents raising money for Victoria Paralympian complete journey

PHOTOS: Hockey history in B.C. as Team India comes to play

Squad played its very first game in Canada on Tuesday against Surrey Falcons

B.C. man wanted in connection to domestic assault in Edmonton

Sterling Miles Booker has ‘ROCK’ and ‘ROLL’ tattooed on his hands

Canada wants free trade deal with southeast Asian nations, Trudeau says

ASEAN nations combined have nearly 650 million people, an economy of US$2.8 trillion, and are already Canada’s sixth-biggest trading partner.

Most Read