Stop the statues.
That’s the crystal clear message from 79 per cent of the 2,441 people who responded to a City of Kitchener survey asking residents to comment on a proposal to have statues of 22 former Prime Ministers circled around the Common area in front of Victoria Park’s clock tower.
Without getting into the huge list of comments about the $2-million proposal to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, 1,920 people said no to the statues while 521 said yes to a project which, according to its backers, has already attracted private pledges worth $1 million.
It’s interesting to note that more people responded to this survey than one done at the time Kitchener and neighbouring municipalities were commenting on an ill-conceived proposal to open a casino in Waterloo Region.
In addition to the rejection of the statue proposal, 78 per cent (1,786 of 2,294 respondents) said they do not want Kitchener council to spend $300,000 of taxpayers’ cash to build bases and provide ongoing maintenance for the bronze monuments.
And, for a variety of reasons, 1,773 out of 2,299 respondents said they do not want to see the statues anywhere in Kitchener.
Based on these overwhelming results, I will ask councillors to consider a motion Feb. 24 that will end any further consideration of the statue project.
If council votes against the statues, I hope the very sincere promoters of this proposal will find and suggest a more meaningful way to spend all that money on an alternative Kitchener project that better celebrates our sesquicentennial.