City reverses stand on proposal for memorial

But special recognition planned elsewhere Penticton soldier who died in Afghanistan

Brian Hughes hasn’t been deterred after Penticton City Council withdrew support for two of his proposals to memorialize Capt. Jonathan Snyder.

With dignitaries already making travel plans, Hughes found a solution that doesn’t rely on support from the city. The location of the Jonathan Snyder Memorial will be adjacent to the walkway at the Penticton Lakeside Resort and Casino.

“Mr. David Prystay has generously offered a site on his property to memorialize Capt. Snyder and we are greatly excited and in debt to his generosity,” said Hughes. “It’s happening, I will be conferring with Madame Clarkson. There will be a great contingent for the ceremony on June 4.”

Hughes originally suggested Penticton rename the 100 block of Main Street as a way to honour Snyder, who died in an accident in 2008, while serving with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. Council didn’t support that idea, but did agree to have a sign or plaque installed in the 100 block of Main Street in memory of Snyder.

Hughes immediately took the plan one step further, inviting former Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson and her husband, author John Ralston Saul, to the planned June 4 dedication. Clarkson, as Colonel-in-Chief of Snyder’s regiment, Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry, accepted and extended the invitation to the commander of the regiment.

But within two weeks, the city was having second thoughts after hearing from the Penticton Veterans’ Association, concerned that such a dedication would break their protocols and that they had not been consulted. They planned to move forward with their own plans to add an Afghanistan memorial to Veterans’ Memorial Park, naming Snyder.

“When we approach these issues with the best of intentions, not only for the families, but also the community at large, we have to do so with more information,” said Mayor Dan Ashton. “This has been  very challenging and an issue that is fraught with the wrong direction that council may or may not take.”

“The decision was made by council without the full understanding of a protocol in regard to veterans. By the placement of a plaque in the 100 block we are stepping on toes that we probably shouldn’t be stepping on,” said Ashton as council voted to rescind the motion at its March 18 regular meeting.

While council chose not to consider a new request from Hughes, that the small plaza at Main and Front St. be renamed Jonathan Snyder Plaza, Coun. Judy Sentes did point out that the plaza was already dedicated.

“I believe it has been drawn to our attention that the second suggestion from Mr. Hughes would infringe on a dedication that is in place. That plaza area is already dedicated to our Chinese connections with our community,” said Sentes. “If we were to have considered that, then we would have offended a previous dedication.”