Penticton Western News

War veterans given place of prominence in Penticton park

Jane Windeler looks for her West Bench home on a metal-cutout map that’s been laid over a table as part of a new tribute to veterans in Selby Park. - Joe Fries/Western News
Jane Windeler looks for her West Bench home on a metal-cutout map that’s been laid over a table as part of a new tribute to veterans in Selby Park.
— image credit: Joe Fries/Western News

War veterans who helped settle a neighbourhood just outside Penticton city limits are now permanent guests of honour in a community park there.

They’re recognized in the new fixtures added to Selby Park on the West Bench, which was settled following the Second World War when soldiers were helped by the Veterans’ Land Act to buy property and establish themselves.

West Bench residents gathered Saturday to get their first look at the newly redesigned park, the focal point of which is a large table topped with metal plating that’s cut into the design of a map that depicts the original VLA subdivision. A bronze plaque will be installed nearby that will list the name of the veteran originally associated with each lot.

Architects Chris Allen and Cal Meiklejohn both live in the area and teamed up on the design.

Allen said the work, which was guided by community consultation, began in earnest last November when a $25,000 grant was secured from Veterans Affairs Canada.

“To do something that gives back to the neighbourhood, tells a bit of the story of why the neighbourhood’s here and how it developed is very rewarding,” Allen said.

Besides the map table, a new wheelchair-accessible pathway and yellow, cut-steel sculpture were also added. The sculpture is a nod to the idea of families and the impact war had on them. Many veterans, Allen explained, returned from war in their mid-20s and had little education or work experience to fall back on in civilian life.

“That’s very difficult, and I can understand what it meant to them to be able to get a lot and build a house and start a family and start a real life after that momentous event in their life. It’s nice to be able to tell that story,” he said.

Concrete specialist Jesse Chapman spent three weeks with his crew on the Selby Park project and said it’s some of the most rewarding work he’s ever done.

“It was really neat working in this community because lots of people would come by and sort of ask us what we were doing and they were all really positive about what we were doing,” Chapman said.

“Some veterans would stop by and gives us a thumbs-up. Everybody in the community was really happy about it, so it was a feel-good project.”

Bob Jenkins, who served in the navy during the Second World War, arrived on the West Bench in 1963 after spending 20 years in the mining sector up north.

“I was one of the last ones to claim a lot,” he said. “There were only three lots left on the whole West Bench.”

Jenkins, whose daughter Sue Gibbons spearheaded the Selby Park upgrade, still lives on the half-acre lot and was pleased with the redesigned gathering place.

“It helps to maintain people’s understanding,” Jenkins said. “Their remembrance, anyway.”

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Peach City Radio tunes into support
 
Summerland man dies after being hit by transport truck
 
Powerful singer to open for The Doobie Brothers at SOEC
Development worries residents of the Bench
 
North Shore history website launches Sunday
 
Electoral Boundaries Commission Act under review
Human Rights Tribunal rejects smart meter complaint
 
B.C. teachers endorse six-year deal, 86 per cent in favour (with VIDEO)
 
Driver and passenger walk away from crash

Community Events, September 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Sep 19 edition online now. Browse the archives.