A growing memorial in downtown Peachland for the 215 children whose remains were found at a former Kamloops residential school is causing some concern for the district.
The problem? The memorial is in contravention of the district’s bylaw regarding public displays.
Peachland’s parks regulation bylaw doesn’t allow memorials as they can cause injury to people and animals. The only place where commemorative items can be placed is a bench donated in memory of Ashlee Hyatt, a West Kelowna teen killed at a house party in Peachland in 2010.
In a report to council, district staff said they received complaints about “growing vandalism, defacement and graffiti along Beach Avenue.” When staff investigated, they found three benches with flowers, a tree and shrine decorated with ornaments, and painted rocks along the beach.
The next day, staff removed the ornaments from the tree and the shrine but bylaw services received a complaint saying the area was actually being used as a memorial for Kamloops.
Painted rocks still appeared at the beach, even after they were first removed by bylaw. Now, staff are looking to Peachland council for guidance on what to do next.
“Due to the sensitive nature of the situation, staff is seeking direction to determine if council would like to change the parks regulation bylaw to provide latitude for shrines or art in parks,” staff wrote in the report.
Peachland’s mayor and council will discuss the issue at a Tuesday (July 13) meeting.