Councillors voted 8-1 this week to take a stand and prevent 22 statues of former Prime Ministers cluttering up the Common area in beautiful Victoria Park.
The $2-million project, financed by local donors, would have involved taxpayers contributing $300,000 to pay for statue bases. Bills for additional landscaping and ongoing maintenance to clean up vandalism would have also been paid by the public.
That is until 2,441 people responded to a survey and an impressive 1,920 people said no to the statues. Another 1,786 said they did not want their money spent on such monuments.
It took 67 pages to list the hundreds of reasons survey respondents gave in opposition to the project.
At council, my motion recommended the project not proceed on any city-owned land and not be financed with city cash. Councillors voted to thank the project promoters but reject the statue proposal.
Only Mayor Carl Zehr voted against the motion, heaping “shame” on councillors and insisting the process which originally included project-design and heritage reports had been “hijacked” by the public survey and its results.
To which I would say if such a process had moved slowly ahead, it would have “hijacked” those survey results and the overwhelming, negative response from those who pay the municipal bills.