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Council ices future memorial benches

Council passed a motion to put a stop to any new memorial benches until a policy can be put in place
USED 2018-11-27-GoodMorningCollingwood-EE-3
A memorial bench at the Collingwood Arboretum. Erika Engel/CollingwoodToday

Collingwood council has placed a moratorium on new memorial benches in town until a report and policy is prepared by staff.

Deputy Mayor Keith Hull brought forward the motion at the Aug. 26 council meeting requesting staff prepare a report to establish a policy for the installation of public benches on municipal property. He asked the report include locations, quantity, and future donor rights or obligations for the memorial benches. The motion also asked staff to come up with a recommended policy to be reviewed by council.

Hull said the motion would not impact memorial benches already in the works.

“We don’t currently have a policy,” he said, adding he wanted one in place for 2020. The motion received unanimous council support.

In July, John Megarry, representing the Sunset Point Resident’s Association, made a presentation to council with a list of items he said were of concern to the people living adjacent to Sunset Point.

Among the concerns were the number of benches at Sunset Point.

“There are currently 45 of these memorial benches in Sunset Point Park,” he said. “They chew up quite a bit of space … valuable and scarce green space in the park.”

Megarry asked if there was a “limit” on how many benches could be placed at Sunset Point. There are also several memorial trees planted in the park.

“[The benches] are not all utilized by any means, there’s barely a small fraction of them in use at any moment,” said Megarry during his presentation.

The Sunset Point Resident’s Association formed about 10 years ago in opposition to a town plan for what Megarry called “excessive” paving at Sunset Point for parking.

The other issues he raised included enforcement of speed limits near the park, public consultation results for the Enviro-Park replacement project, and enforcement for illegal parking and overnight camping at Sunset Point.

He made a 10-minute presentation to council on July 22 and submitted this letter on the issues.

There has been no date set for the delivery of the staff report on the policy and current inventory of memorial benches in the town.

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Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 15 years of experience as a local journalist
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