An open letter to White Rock council.
Re: Anger over planned removal of memorial plaques, Aug. 5.
I was dismayed to read in Peace Arch News last week about the potential removal of dedication plaques with the planned replacement of benches and light poles on the promenade.
I have since spoken with your engineering and municipal operations department. They have assured me that the plaques on benches are not going to be removed for now. I see there was an update Tuesday on the city website (www.whiterockcity.ca) with this information, and that it will be discussed further at your next council meeting.
As you must be aware, this is a very emotional issue with donors.
When my husband passed away, I had an option of burying his ashes in a graveyard with a plaque. Instead, I chose to scatter his ashes in the Pacific Ocean and purchase a memorial bench on the promenade. It was our favourite place to walk, and a very peaceful spot for me to sit, remember and enjoy the scenery we loved.
If at any time you decide to remove this, you have removed my place to go and honour his memory.
I wish to take issue with the statement: “Councillors contacted by Peace Arch News Thursday said the problem is residents have received the impression that plaques are installed in perpetuity. Under existing policy, however, this is not the case.”
It is correct that I was never told my plaque would be there in perpetuity. I was told, however, that the bench and plaque would be maintained for my lifetime. And I am still very much alive.
At no time was I ever told of a policy, then or since, that the dedicated items would only be in place for the life of the fixture or for a maximum period of 20 years, as the city website now says. This policy may have come into effect after I purchased the bench in 1992.
The suggestion on your website that I am now “allowed” to renew the dedication for an additional fee is preposterous, insulting and extremely upsetting.
I made the dedication in good faith when I was told it would be maintained for my lifetime. I expect that commitment to be honoured. When you discuss this issue, please use your hearts to make the right decision.
Lynn Cockrill, Surrey