The city is recommending changes to its Legacy Landmarks program that could mean memorials are taken down after a certain amount of years.
The program offers individuals and organizations the chance to make a donation to purchase benches or picnic tables in memory of a loved one.
The memorials are installed in parks and along trails but space is running out.
“At this point, the program has reached its capacity with a wait list of 59 people for memorial items,” said Ross Milnthorp, the city’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture. “To date, 136 benches and 52 picnic tables have been installed and the provision of this parks furniture has greatly enhanced the community, providing places to sit and relax.”
Several of the benches and picnic tables can be found along the Sea Walk and in Dick Murphy Park.
But those memorials may not be here to stay. City staff is suggesting a new policy under which all landmark items will only be maintained for roughly 25 years at which time the space will be made available to a new leasee.
Council, however, was hesitant to discuss such a policy at last week’s council meeting and elected to move the discussion to the next Committee of the Whole meeting.
“This particular issue is very sensitive to citizens who have lost a loved one and I’d like council to have the chance to talk about it at the Committee of the Whole and with citizens who purchased these benches,” said Coun. Larry Samson.
The program, which began in 2001, is also becoming costly for the city.
“Due to rising costs the city has had to subsidize the program to a greater degree than it has in the past,” said Milnthorp, who noted the purchase, delivery and installation of park benches and picnic tables has increased since 2001. “Staff is recommending that rates are increased to better reflect current costs and reduce taxpayer investment in the program.”