Memorial bench delay frustrates family

Cheryl Lou Sinclair doesn’t like to complain, but the wait has been a bit much.

Cheryl Lou Sinclair doesn’t like to complain, but the wait has been a bit much.

Sinclair and her sister Joy Carter are the daughters of Jack and Barbara Dowling who died within a year of each other.

The Dowlings lived and worked in Salmon Arm for 40 years, their home on Ninth Avenue between Shuswap and McGuire lakes. Because they enjoyed walking around McGuire Lake so much, their daughters decided a memorial bench there would be a fitting tribute.

“In 1999 when we first attempted to secure a bench or have a bench made for this area, we filled out forms, were told to be patient and then were sent in ‘circles,’” the sisters wrote in a letter to city council.

The women noticed a wood slat bench nearest their parents’ former home with no dedication on it, which they thought would be perfect. They offered to pay to upgrade the bench.

Sinclair told the Observer that she went back to the city several times over the years. At one point there were only five names on the list; another time her family wasn’t on the list at all, she says.

“Who knows what happened with the forms?”

At city council’s meeting Oct. 22, the letter was discussed briefly.

Coun. Debbie Cannon asked if a response has been sent to the family.

Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, said Brad Ackerman has contacted them, telling them the bench program is full but a new memorial walkway is being offered to citizens. The McGuire Lake Memorial Walkway will be a paving stone pathway on both the east and west sides of the Japanese Friendship Gate.

Sinclair says a bench would be a more fitting memorial to her parents.


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