Memorial bench price increase upsets resident

A recent District of Sooke letter requesting an additional $2,000 from those who bought memorial benches several years ago has left many confused.

Sooke resident Brandy Rittaler is one of them.

The letter is asking people who have bought a memorial bench to submit the money by Jan. 31 to “maintain the bench,” or the plaque will be removed and placed elsewhere.

Rittaler said $1,600 was fundraised in 2006 to buy a bench in honour of her mother, Judy Jamieson, who died 11 years ago, and she was very confused to receive a letter asking for another $2,000 to keep it there.

She decided to contact the district about the renewal policy, and found that she had bought the bench before the policy was implemented, and was never made aware of the price increase.

“I am so disappointed in the District of Sooke for these actions. It feels to me like a heartless money grab,” said Rattler. “I also feel the District of Sooke owes an apology to the people who have received these letters. They have caused more grief and confusion during a time of year many of us struggle with already.”

She explained that the district has been in contact with her, were “very apologetic” and are working to find a solution to the issue.

“I understand that the parks and benches need to be maintained, but I just think the whole thing could have been handled better and they could have given people a warning that the policy had changed,” said Rittaler. “I’m hoping the community will come together and find a better way to manage the policies for the future.”

Sooke mayor Maja Tait said she is empathetic to all parties concerned, and believes there has been some miscommunication that happened along the way to cause this issue.

“I feel sorry for the families who have been impacted, especially at this emotional time of year which is meant for celebrating and remembering family,” said Tait. “Council certainly doesn’t want to make it negative or difficult for anyone and unfortunately it seems like that is what has happened.”

She said a staff report will be brought forward at Monday’s council meeting, and that’s when they will having a meaningful conversation on how to make it right for the people involved.

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

Just Posted

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Saanich council seeks more information after hearing Uptown-Douglas plan

Council asks for further reports on economic, housing, transportation plans for corridor

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Victoria police seize replica handgun and bullets

Unrelated call leads police to functional replica

Flaming object thrown through Victoria restaurant window

Police looking for any witnesses to early-morning incident

Man arrested after stabbing incident at makeshift camp near Vancouver Island mall

RCMP in Parksville report 28-year-old man taken into custody without incident

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Most Read