WATCH: A number of people are feeling angry and upset following the theft of memorial plaques from a Chemainus park. It’s believed the heartless theft was motivated by the value of the brass that makes up the plaques and the now the municipality is trying to come up with an alternative so the plaques won’t be stolen again. Kendall Hanson reports.
For years Lynn James brought her dogs on a daily walk to Kinsmen Beach Park in Chemainus.
When the last of the four Bichons she owned over 30 years died last summer, James decided she wanted to pay tribute to the pets and the place that gave them so much joy.
"A memorial bench was a way of acknowledging what they brought to my life, the way they enhanced my life and it also gave me a destination to walk from my home in Chemainus to Kin park to sit on the bench and to think about life," said James.
The bench and the plaque set her back nearly $2,000 dollars but she felt it was money well spent.
Just months later though, in late December, the plaque was stolen.
One of five memorial plaques to disappear from the park.
"And what I see is a bare spot where a beautiful plaque once was placed and it reminds me of the cruelty and the thoughtlessness of some members of our society," said James.
For now, no one can say who took the plaques but North Cowichan's mayor says it's hard to fathom how anyone could be so heartless.
"My real hope is that somebody was not thinking of other people when they did it so it's more ignorant than deliberate," said North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure.
It's thought the plaques were stolen for the value of the brass they're made of. While the municipality is ready to replace them free of charge, they'll be looking for something that isn't so tempting for would-be thieves.
"I know there are new plaques being ordered," said Lefebure. "They may be of a different form so there isn't the same desire by someone to try and take it for a bit of money for the metal."
James remains bitter about the theft but says she was even willing to pay for a new plaque herself.
"This is a pet bench. This is something that honours the love of our pet family and what they bring to our family," said James.
For now, there is still an empty space where her dedication once stood but it warms her heart to know others appreciate sitting on the bench, just as she still so often does.