Sooke memorial benches bought before 2014 safe from hefty renewal fee

Sooke memorial benches bought before 2014 safe from hefty renewal fee

WATCH: As we first reported, a Sooke woman was fighting back after receiving a letter asking for a hefty renewal fee to save a park bench dedicated to her mother. Now, council voted unanimously Monday night to rescind those letters and apologize although a long-term resolution has yet to be decided. Luisa Alvarez reports. 

The controversy over a memorial bench started after Linda Nex received a letter stating a hefty renewal fee of $2,000 was required in order to keep the bench dedicated to her dear friend Judy Jamison. The community of Sooke had raised the $1,600 eleven years ago and at the time, there was no renewal policy in place.

At Monday night’s council meeting, many people came to share their grievances with council and things even got a little heated.

“There was an awful lot of people that came to that meeting just to address the benches,? said Linda Nex.

Sooke Council then voted unanimously to rescind the controversial letters.

” They can expect a rescinding of that letter and an apology from mayor and council,? said Sooke Councillor Kevin Pearson.

But the bigger question remains, beyond the letters what will happen to the benches that were bought before the policy was established in 2014?

READ MORE: Sooke asking for more cash for memorial bench bought eleven years ago

Nex says that part is still unclear but she’s staying hopeful.

“I could be wrong and I?d be very disappointed but I think it has already been decided in our favour,? said Nex.

Although not quite carved in stone, some councillors believe she is right.

? I’m only one member of the council but I believe that?s the intent of the discussion last night, it was very positive to say that we are going to come up with a better and more Sooke-like policy. Without getting to the front of it I think it?s appropriate to say those benches are protected.? said Pearson.

As for the more “Sooke-like” policy regarding memorial benches moving forward that will have to wait until next year.

” Early 2018, I expect the policy to be in draft form and start proceeding through,” said Pearson.

On top of that, council is also looking at spending $50,000 for the design and construction of a new memorial at Whiffin Spit Park. That decision is also slated for 2018.

Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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