RCMP probe fire after wharf destroyed in Walton
UPDATED 5:56 a.m. Saturday
A suspicious fire Thursday night has destroyed the historic wharf in the small Hants County community of Walton.
And as investigators look into the cause of the blaze, one person has offered a $500 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible.
“It’s a historical landmark," said Jennifer Wilcox.
“I grew up there. . . . Thirtyfive years of swimming at the beach and seeing the wharf and having it known that it’s part of our history, and to have some moron burn it down is just disheartening."
She said members of the community “are absolutely devastated by this."
Windsor District RCMP say the wharf was engulfed in flames when firefighters from the Walton Shore department were called to the scene at about 9:30 p. m.
They were joined by other volunteer departments from Noel, Summerville and Brooklyn. Wilcox, who now lives in Centre Burlington, said her grandfather worked from the wharf, where ships loaded barite until the mine closed “years ago."
She said she grew up hearing the stories of how vital the wharf was to the community.
“It’s definitely a huge loss for the community," Wilcox said.
“The community was decimated when the mining industry shut down. . . . It went from a very prosperous community to just a little dot on the map."
While many people moved away, those who remained worked hard to preserve the wharf and the community lighthouse as landmarks, she said.
“They are two things that distinguish Walton from many other locations along the shore, and now we’ve lost one of them. “ While the wharf was used mostly as a recreational fishing spot, there had been movement to try to redevelop it to attract commercial fishing, she said.
There have been problems with vandalism in the past. Just last year, old gravestones were knocked over and smashed, and picnic tables at the lighthouse have been thrown over a bank.
“I’m very much fed up," Wilcox said.
She’s encouraging others who feel the same way to add to the reward. She’s posted the reward on social media sites and contacted RCMP and Crime Stoppers.
In a news release, Windsor District RCMP say the cause of the fire is still under investigation and the provincial fire marshal’s office has been called in to assist.
Anyone with information is asked to call Windsor RCMP at 798-2207, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at crimestoppers.ns.ca.