A new bench beside an older one on the seawall at Qualicum Beach.

Town of Qualicum Beach tackles memorial bench issues

It now costs $1,800 to put a plaque on a bench at seawall

Friede Dunfield loved to stroll along the seawall at Qualicum Beach, stop for a rest on a bench and look at the beauty of the ocean in front of her.

After her passing, her children honoured her memory by buying one of those benches and a plaque engraved with her name that also said: “Mom and best friend, you will always be with us.”

The family bought the bench for $450 in 2002. They learned earlier this year from the town the bench is no longer safe, needs to be replaced and if the Dunfields want to renew, it will cost $1,800.

Friede’s son Peter Dunfield doesn’t believe it would take much to get the bench safe and better looking.

“I think 10 minutes of sanding and couple of coats of varnish would do it,” said Peter. “That’s ridiculous to say it’s no longer viable so they (the town) can take it out and re-sell it for $1,800. I think it’s really disrespectful of people who have purchased the benches as memorials.”

The policy regarding these benches has changed a few times over the years. A walk along the seawall reveals benches in all sorts of stages, some looking pretty rough, others brand new. Many have memorial plaques, some have clearly had the plaques removed.

“If the original purchasers don’t wish to remove them, we remove the plaques,” explained Qualicum Beach town planner Luke Sales. “It’s just not realistic to maintain (the benches) forever.”

The town’s policies — both old and new — make reference to the town maintaining the benches for a period of time, but none of the policies say it’s a forever agreement.

Sales said he isn’t unsympathetic, and he agrees with the Dunfields that their bench isn’t exactly falling apart.

“If it was at my house, yes (it would be fine), but the town has different standards,” he said. “We’re trying to find a way to balance our high maintenance standards with the expectations of bench purchasers who purchased under previous arrangements.”

Peter isn’t sure exactly what the family will decide to do with the bench. The town has offered the bench to the family and Peter said it might end up in the backyard of one of the children. If they want to keep a plaque on a bench on the seawall, the town says the family will have to pay $1,800 for an eight-year agreement.

Peter has a suggestion for the town: “If they are going to change the policy so you can only rent the plaque for a period of time, do it in a way that allows for multiple plaques (on each bench).”

Just Posted

Lincoln stolen from Parksville dealership found near Duncan

Vehicle was located three days later with minor damage

Ballenas student experiment going into space

Science experiment designed by five SD69 students will travel to International Space Station

Fire engulfs trailer, vehicle and home in Bowser

The fire began around 6:45 p.m. at a property on Laurel Crescent

Have a heart for a cause in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Stained glass artist selling hearts for the homeless for what might be the last time

Canadian flag, pole heisted from Qualicum Beach business

Thieves remained busy during holiday season

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

First Parksville baby of 2019 born in Nanaimo hospital

Maverick Maurice Lapierre was five pounds, 11 ounces

Second fatal crash occurs in Alberni Valley

Traffic on Highway 4 is being re-routed as investigators are en route

Port Alberni RCMP officers bear-sprayed by suspect

Police were responding at scene of traffic accident

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Most Read