At a preview event in November

At a preview event in November

New veterans’ tribute opening soon near Penticton

West Bench park all set for official grand reopening to celebrate veterans who settled it

Bagpipers and highland dancers will highlight the grand opening of a new veterans’ tribute at a West Bench park.

The tribute at Selby Park pays homage to the veterans who settled the neighbourhood in the 1950s.

At the heart of that tribute is a large table topped with metal plating that’s cut into the design of a map that depicts the original Veterans’ Land Act subdivision between 1952 and 1957. A bronze plaque lists the name of the veteran originally associated with each lot.

The West bench was settled following the Second World War when soldiers were helped by the VLA to buy property and establish themselves.

In addition to the map, Selby Park also received a new wheelchair-accessible ramp, stairs and pathway, plus cut-steel sculptures depicting people who are meant to pay tribute to families and the impact war had on them.

The work was funded by a $25,000 grant from Veterans Affairs Canada and relied heavily on community consultation and help from two local designers.

“We wanted to highlight how the VLA helped returning veterans re-establish a life within Canadian society after being dislocated by the war,” architect Chris Allen said in a press release.

Allen worked with architect Cal Meiklejohn on the design, which was co-ordinated by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

While the public got a preview of the redesigned park in November, the grand opening is officially slated for Saturday, June 15.

Neighbourhood veterans will be welcomed into the park by bagpipers for a formal ribbon cutting, followed by a presentation from the park designers. Complimentary cake and sandwiches will be available, along with an opportunity for residents to share stories and enjoy the tribute.

The pipers will escort the veterans into the park at 11 a.m. sharp, and chairs plus a special parking and unloading area will be available for those who need them.


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