Memorial in wrong spot

Memorial belongs on Mission Group project site

I object to the memorial for a tragic (crane) accident that occurred on a Mission Group project site in downtown Kelowna being constructed in Knowles Heritage Park, on the corner of Bernard Avenue and Ethel Street.

This small park and heritage house were saved and carefully nurtured with trees and plants by the Kelowna South Central Association of Neighbourhoods and should not be encroached upon. It already has a purpose and a history. The planned memorial appears to cover a larger land space than the base of the cenotaph in City Park.

In 1981, a construction accident occurred at the Bentall Centre in Vancouver, when four men were killed when their fly form collapsed at the 36th floor. They plummeted to their deaths. A beautiful memorial was built at the site, with a large stone and what appears to be an open book, where one page has etchings of the faces of the four men. The opposite page has their names and a commemorative statement.

Each year in January, the B.C. Building Trades conduct a memorial service at that site for those men and for all construction workers who died the previous year.

What is important here is it is at the site of the accident, not hidden and out of site from where the incident occurred. The accident was at the Bentall Centre project. The owners acknowledge that and faced up to the tragedy.

What are we trying to do here (in Kelowna)? Is this a favour to the Mission Group, to get it out of site and not have them set aside at least a few square-feet of project land to honour the victims?

We have not yet seen the RCMP report but people in the construction industry know all too well the events surrounding the tragedy. Were all the protocols followed and safety inspectors from the company, the city and WorkSafeBC present? All shortcomings must be publicized and remembered, so this type of accident can be prevented in future.

The commemoration of this tragedy is not appropriate in Knowles Heritage Park. The Mission Group needs to construct a memorial on the project site. Make it whatever size is wishes, but that is where it belongs.

Don Henderson, Kelowna

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