Motor oil was another of the more than 30 items dumped on the rock. (Photo submitted)

Anti-smoking protest giving woman the creeps

Dead snake, motor oil, rotting seafood among items left on rock where woman takes cigarette break

Bizarre offerings and cryptic messages have put a chill into a Saanich woman’s cigarette break.

Michelle Schile came across the first token back in January, when she found the rock she sits on for her cigarette break covered in mud and manure.

On that January day, Schile went down to the large boulder at the side of the road behind Lochside elementary school, like she’s been doing for the past 18 years. She found the rock, located down a bank near the Lochside Trail, had been covered with mud and manure.

“I cleaned it off, then the next time I went down there was more mud, so I thought, ‘OK, this is getting weird,” said Schile, who works at the school.

And it only got weirder from there, as the surprises kept coming – sometimes every few days, sometimes after a break of a week or two. A can of soup, garbage, motor oil, a dead snake.

“It got so disgusting, and I got tired of cleaning it up,” said Schile, who called Saanich public works to bring absorbent to soak up the oil.

“The last time it was so disgusting, it was really gross. He must have scraped the bottom of his boat, because there were barnacles, crab legs, mussel shells. It was crawling with flies and stunk to high heaven. You can just imagine rotten seafood in the sun, it was really disgusting.”

She contacted police but was told there was little they could do about the incidents.

Sgt. Jereme Leslie confirms Saanich Police were contacted about the incident, but said there was no damage done to the rock and police have been unable to identify a suspect.

“As it stands now the essential elements of the offence have not been met so it doesn’t meet the threshold of harassment as outlined in the Criminal Code,” said Leslie, adding police have concluded the file.

But Schile wasn’t ready to let it go, placing a camera in the bush focused on the rock. After weeks of positioning and repositioning the camera, she finally captured a photo of the legs and torso of who she describes as an older man.

“Just cause I was mad, I wrote out on a piece of paper the definition of petty and the definition of passive aggressive, laminated it and left it there.”

She said the note disappeared, before returning a couple weeks later with a message on the back.

“It said he is part of a cycling group and there have been six smoking-related deaths in the group. His wife died of cancer. He said we won’t foul your reading rock if you don’t foul our air. Now I know it’s directed at me,” said Schile, adding she checked with CRD to make sure she wasn’t in violation of clean-air bylaws, and is carefull to not leave any cigarette butts behind.

She says more than 30 items have been left at the rock, the latest coming at the end of June when a dead snake greeted her at the rock. Police have advised her not to leave any more notes for the man, who had been responding on B.C. Coroners Service stationary. Schile just wants the situation to end, and hopes someone using the Lochside Trail might have observed someone placing items on the rock.

“I don’t know what he looks like. He could cycle by me every day, it’s creepy. Every time a cyclist goes by, I’m like, ‘Is it you?’ He’s just a nut job and he needs to be stopped.”

editor@saanichnews.com

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A can of paint was among the items dumped onto a rock near the Lochside Trail where a Saanich woman sits during her cigarette break. Photo submitted

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