The old Craigflower Bridge and site of Reena Virk murder. File photo

LETTER: We need patience, love and understanding in Saanich

Letter writer calls for monument to honour Reena Virk’s murder

There hasn’t been a time in the 20 years since Reena Virk was murdered when I don’t think of her while driving over the Craigflower Bridge. I think of her, and the incomprehensible acts of bullying and violence that occurred there on the night of Nov. 14, 1997.

At the time I was working as a youth worker in the Nexus program at the Boys and Girls Club on Pandora Street. The provincially funded program offered a bridge for vulnerable and at-risk youth. Some were in gangs, some were in care and some from the heart of the Uplands. They were making the transition from jail, or detention, back to school.

None of them were directly involved in the murder of Reena Virk, though some of their friends were.

My job was to teach the kids about plants, garden and outdoor activities. During our many field trips out to Saanich farms we crossed the Craigflower Bridge. I could feel it in my stomach as we approached. Even though as youth counsellors we needed to keep it together, we all found it impossible and it was agreed that tears were a healthy response.

In anticipation of crossing the bridge the youth would argue, swear and fights would break out. During trips to Metchosin we would pull over at Esquimalt Lagoon for a snack and to discuss anti-bullying and grief.

I have returned to Kosapsom Park and Craigflower Bridge since, and unsuccessfully searched the area for a monument to honour the life of Reena Virk and the event that occurred there.

It may be 20 years later since the death of Reena Virk but violence, bullying and racism has not ended. It is widespread, global and yes, even here in our backyards in Saanich.

This week, I got brave and called Reena Virk’s parents and spoke with Manjit, her father, about the monument.

Manjits Virk’s shining words filled my heart and gave me hope for the kind of Saanich and world we wish to see.

“We must replace bullying with patience, love and understanding,” he said.

It is these words that I feel would make a perfect monument to honour Reena Virk’s life and the describe the kind of world we want to see on in the future.

Nathalie Chambers

Saanich

Just Posted

Pedestrain struck on Quadra Street

A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on Quadra Street at Hulford… Continue reading

Our Place celebrates Christmas in July

Afternoon barbecue serves up turkey burgers and Santa hats under the hot sun

Police respond after dog left in vehicle at the movies

West Shore RCMP determined the animal was not in distress

Affordable housing idea dead for Central Park, idea shifts to Royal Athletic Park lot

Underground parking with housing units above to be considered for existing lot

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Former Vike returns to lead women’s rowing program

Williams rowed for UVic, Oxford and Canada

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

Most Read