With an increasing number of requests for memorial benches and chairs to commemorate community members, Town staff are in the process of developing an official program to consider those requests.
“The intention of this program is to allow community members an opportunity to recognize a family member or friend and is not a program to support commercial sponsorships,” noted a staff report presented at the Mar. 2 general committee meeting. The program would apply to plaques affixed to benches and chairs placed along municipal sidewalks, trails, and parks, and could be installed in memory of a loved one, or to honour a person, group or special occasion.
But following discussion, and some objections voiced by Mayor Karin Terziano, staff will return to the drawing board to refine the proposed program.
“I requested to have this program done because I was receiving numerous requests for bench dedications and they were starting to come in often enough that I thought we needed a policy for it. But I’m not real fan of the policy that’s before us today,” said Terziano.
Among the mayor’s objections were the fees, which ranged from $500 for a plaque on an existing bench or chair, up to $2,400 for installation of a new bench with plaque on Main Street. She also opposed the five-year term for the plaques, and that up to two sponsorships would be permitted on a single bench.
“And I’m not sure I’m totally in favour of not having any commercial sponsorship,” she added. “if they wanted to somehow sponsor a bench in front of their business with some type of small plaque, I don’t think we should exclude that.”
Deputy Mayor Nancy Alcock added that she’d like to see community members have the ability to donate a bench or chair, and that the program should be year-round rather than limited to twice-annual application intakes.
Funds received for the purchase of benches and chairs would be used to offset the associated costs of installation, while funds received for the plaques would be directed to the Parks Capital Reserve for park development. If the policy determines that plaques will be installed for a limited period of time, the plaque would be returned to the donor at the end of the term if requested.
The proposed policy also notes that benches and chairs are removed from Main Street during the winter to allow for snow removal.
Staff will discuss the matter further with councillors and will return to a future meeting with a revised report.
Don’t miss out on Doppler!
Sign up here to receive our email digest with links to our most recent stories.
Local news in your inbox three times per week!