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

One person has been arrested following an assault on a man with Down syndrome along Dallas Road April 17. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man with Down syndrome attacked along Dallas Road

Suspected assailant arrested, sent to hospital for mental health assessment

Victoria police are asking for help locating high-risk missing man Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria April 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Police searching for Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria

Whittaker believed to be driving 1994 red Volkswagen Golf

Victoria police arrested a wanted man April 19, seizing drugs, firearms and body armour. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Drugs, loaded weapons, body armour seized from Victoria suite

Man was wanted for the possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking

Colwood resident Maria Curcic shows off a one-of-a-kind hat that she created. Curcic is one of several artists that took part in the annual Stinking Fish Studio Tour. (Contributed - Maria Curcic)
Curtain closes on Stinking Fish Studio Tour

The Stinking Fish Studio Tour will live on through the lasting legacy… Continue reading

Saanich police are asking for help locating missing woman Megan Letham who was last seen in the Mount Douglas Park area on April 17 at 7:30 p.m. (Photo courtesy of Saanich Police Department)
MISSING: Saanich police searching for Megan Letham

Letham’s last known location was near Mount Douglas Park April 17

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future finally surfaces at Royal B.C. Museum

Museum dives into the world of the killer whale as delayed feature exhibition now open

Polystyrene has been outlawed as a take-out option for restaurants in Tofino and Ucluelet. (Black Press Media file photo)
Styrofoam done as a takeout option on Island’s Pacific Rim

Tofino and Ucluelet ban polystyrene take-out containers

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
IIO investigating after police dog bites man near Ladysmith

RCMP dog bit man during traffic stop on Friday, April 17

Joudelie King wants to get out and live life to the fullest, but there are places she can’t go because they don’t meet her accessibility needs. (submitted photo)
New online tool provides accessibility map for people with disabilities

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for nearly 1,000 locations in the province

Most Read