Cenotaph makeover marks revamp of service

Stakeholders involved in contemplated changes at Uplands cenotaph site

Coun. Tara Ney is on the task force to look at how Oak Bay’s cenotaph can continue to respect the past while honouring the present and planning for the future.

Coun. Tara Ney is on the task force to look at how Oak Bay’s cenotaph can continue to respect the past while honouring the present and planning for the future.

With the face of veterans changing, Oak Bay hopes to meld respect for past traditions with additional inclusivity of religious, cultural and educational ideas.

The plan includes investigating changes to both the ceremony and the park landscape surrounding Oak Bay’s cenotaph.

“We have met with the organizers of the Remembrance Day ceremony and we are examining ways to include remembrance of those who have more recently served Canada,” said Coun. Tara Ney, chair of the Oak Bay Cenotaph Task Group overseeing the contemplated changes. “We want to have a ceremony that honours the beliefs of those who are there, without excluding others. That is the aspiration.”

That task group also includes Jayden Cromier, serving member of the Canadian Forces Reserve, Renè de Vos, environmental/landscape advocate, Patrick Frey, former director of the BC Heritage Branch, citizenship judge Gerald Pash, a retired Canadian Forces Reservist, and Jean Sparks, archivist and heritage specialist. They seek to balance a respect of the past and present while planning for the future as the group delves into how to conserve, renew and revise the cenotaph in Oak Bay.

“The physical landscape shapes our experience for remembrance – who we remember. We want to rearrange the landscape so that it is respectful and inclusive,” Ney said. “The initiative will provide an opportunity to strengthen public recognition of the site as a special place.”

That could include extending the site as a memorial for other public safety personnel.

“We want to enhance its use as a place of remembrance and reflection beyond its traditional association with the annual Nov. 11 Remembrance Day ceremony,” Ney said. “This is our space in Oak Bay where we can do that.”

Among the initiatives beyond landscaping and memorial markers, they plan to nominate the cenotaph to the Canadian Register of Historical Places. They also hope to garner an understanding of the traditional Songhees and Esquimalt nations’ use of the land in that area.

The Oak Bay Cenotaph was constructed in 1948 and dedicated to those who gave their lives during the Second World War. It is a designated Municipal Heritage Site. They also plan to evaluate options for making site more accessible without causing inappropriate alterations to the cenotaph, minimizing environmental impact and respecting the heritage designation. They hope to also address parking and pedestrian access.

Veteran’s Affairs Canada has matching funds available to assist with the project and the group plans to request council set aside money to support.  They also hope to garner financial aid and in-kind support from individuals and businesses to gain the maximum amount of matching federal money.  “It is important that we augment our team to prepare a conceptual plan to present to the community in November and then a detailed plan for council to review and with its approval make an application for Veterans Affairs funding early in the New Year,” Ney said.

When council accepted the committee’s interim report this summer, it asked the group to provide a work plan with recommendations and a list of priorities. Those looking to get involved in the project plan can contact Ney at taraney@shaw.ca or 250-592-1966.

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

Just Posted

Amy Morrison was surprised to find a note on her windshield for parking on a public street with no restrictions in south Oak Bay where she works. (Amy Morrison Photo)
Oak Bay resident uses notes to claim street parking

‘You must have noticed, we park in front of OUR HOUSE,’ note writer says

Debra Sheets, a University of Victoria nursing professor, is starting Victoria’s first Memory Cafe program for adults with dementia and their caregivers. (Photo: Debra Sheets)
Memory Cafe Victoria hopes to connect local dementia community

Adults with dementia and their caregivers will participate in weekly Zoom socializing and activities

From right: Brad Cameron, BCEHS superintendent of patient care delivery for Greater Victoria, with primary care paramedics Em Funk, Tyrone Trotter, Fiona Galvin and Peter Hill at the Leigh Road station. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore paramedics didn’t waver when faced with COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Emergency Health Services personnel are this year’s Courage and Bravery Award recipients

Several BC Ferries sailings are cancelled Friday due to adverse weather. (Black Press Media File)
UPDATED: All B.C. Ferries sailings cancelled due to wind, weather

Adverse weather causes cancellations across several BC Ferries routes

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read