Volunteers have been busy fortifying the Potato House after discovering last week it had been broken into.
Director Mary Forbes was giving a tour to CBC Radio on Friday when she noticed a back window had been broken.
“We’re concerned about the person who broke in. They were in the basement and could have been exposed to the Hantavirus. There are rodent droppings down there. Only our directors go down there and we always wear masks.”
Forbes also discovered the lids off some old canned goods that were in the basement.
There is asbestos in the house too, although it’s not a threat unless it’s disturbed.
There is nothing valuable stored at the house, but when Forbes went upstairs she discovered someone had “ransacked” an old dresser in the bedroom.
“They broke the bottom off and went through all the papers that were stored in the dresser.”
Forbes hesitated contacting the media but decided she wanted to try and alert the intruder to go to get tested for the virus.
“I also want to encourage the community to keep its eyes and ears out whenever we’re not around,” she said.
Up until the break-in, Forbes had noticed attempts by someone to break in. She’d fixed screens a few times and saw footprints in the snow.
But no one had gained entry until then.
“We’ve been really lucky in the last two years since we purchased the house. There have been no break-ins or damage,” Forbes said. “I am surprised by the motivation and very disappointed.”
It will be harder to gain entry now because the locks have all been changed and each room now has a lock. New screens have been put in place and in a few weeks there will be a part-time staff person working there running a new community composting project.
“The staff person will be working with the community, and there will be new interpretive signage, and collection boxes for compost along the back fence,” Forbes explained.
Originally built in the 1930s, the house was famous for its garden and plentiful potatoes, hence it was nicknamed the Potato House.
It was purchased in 2011 to be developed into a community centre with gardens, with hopes to eventually serve as a community hall.