Fern Perkins

Fern Perkins

Afghanistan war memorial plans on full retreat

Pioneer Square is not the right place for a war memorial, says Victoria's heritage committee

Placement of the Afghanistan War Memorial intended for Pioneer Square is being reconsidered after concerns about the park’s heritage as the old burying ground.

When the subject of a war memorial came to council in January, it was unanimously supported.

However, when it was submitted to the heritage advisory committee, it was rejected.

The heritage committee did not support the location because of the park’s history as a cemetery.

It served as the city’s cemetery from 1855 to 1873 and was converted to a park in 1908.

Approximately 1,300 people are buried there, marked by few surviving gravestones.

“Many of the 1,300 people buried and memorialized in Pioneer Square are Métis and First Nations,” said Fern Perkins, a Victoria Métis woman. She is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles Ross, a Hudson’s Bay Co. trader who is buried in the park.

Perkins does not want to see their graves disturbed and forgotten through the placement of the war memorial.

“We’re concerned that this just further obliterates the real history of Victoria,” she said, adding that while the Afghanistan War memorial deserves its own place of honour, that place should be somewhere else in the city such as city hall or Bastion Square.

In Pioneer Square, she would like to see the city focus on memorializing the people who are buried there.

Coun. Chris Coleman said an Afghanistan War Memorial in Pioneer Square fits with a previously-made policy.

“Less than two years ago, we accepted a policy document around Pioneer Park, and it said that this is a place that needs to honour its past history as the old burying ground and function as a park. In that, it identified a specific quadrant of the park where military memorials or commemorative pieces would be appropriate.”

Council will have to deliberate the options of where the war memorial belongs. One option brought up is Rockland Avenue, where it intersects with Quarda Street.

Council recently decided to permanently close a portion of Rockland Avenue off from traffic, so this could be a good place for the memorial, said Coleman.

“I’m not fussed with where it goes. I passionately believe that we should have this,” he said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seattle Mariners field coordinator Carson Vitale before a game at T-Mobile Park during the 2020 season. Vitale, who grew up in Victoria, has pledged to run 10 miles a day for 2021 and to donate 50 cents per mile to the United Way of King County. (Ben Van Houten/Seattle Mariners)
Mariners coach running 10 miles a day for United Way

Saanich-raised Carson Vitale, Seattle Mariners field coordinator, plans to run 3,650 miles in 2021

Gordon English, construction manager of the Habitat for Humanity project in North Saanich, shows off the current interior of a townhouse part of the affordable housing project. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Families set to move in to affordable housing project in North Saanich by spring

Pending completion of Habitat for Humanity project comes against backdrop of new housing report

A rainbow graces the departure of CCGS John Cabot as it leaves Victoria Jan. 7. (Canadian Coast Guard/Facebook)
Follow a coast guard ship’s trip from Victoria to Halifax, through Panama Canal

Canadian Coast Guard Ship John Cabot left for St. Johns on Jan. 7

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Most Read