British Columbia

Williams Lake running out of park spots for memorial benches

The central Interior city is looking for alternative options for their memorial bench program as space has become limited in the city's most popular parks.

The city is trying to find alternative ways for people to honour family and friends

City staff have found they are running out of space to add memorial benches in three of the city's most popular parks. (City of Williams Lake)

Williams Lake is looking for alternative solutions for its memorial bench program as space becomes increasingly limited in the city's most popular parks.

Matt Sutherland, manager of public works for the central Interior city, said 95 per cent of the requests for benches are for the same three parks.

"We have three parks in our community here that are highly desirable for memorial benches and what we have currently in those three parks is a high volume of benches already existing," he said.

Alternative options

For now, the memorial bench program will continue, but city staff are hoping to find alternatives so they can accommodate people who still want memorials, Sutherland told Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce.

A second option the city has been offering is memorial trees, where a tree is purchased in a park or on city property and has a plaque placed on it. 

The city is also considering building memorial walls.

"A memorial wall would be adequate for a high volume of memorials to be attached to in a small space," said Sutherland.

Residents could purchase a plaque on the wall, which would be located places like parks.

"You could get up [to] 600 memorial plaques that could be installed in this one small central location," said Sutherland.

Another option being considered is selling city-owned benches that are already in a park to serve as memorials.

"We're looking at other ways to adapt to those desirable areas to make it feasible for people to memorialize their family or friends," said Sutherland.

The public works manager said they will be reviewing and reaching out to other communities for more ideas. 

'Sad to hear' says local

Williams Lake resident Lesley Loyd told CBC's Daybreak Kamloops in an email that she is "very sad to hear" that city staff say there is no more room for benches.

She recommends putting benches in the city centre along busy sidewalks. She suggests placing benches along roads with significant foot traffic such as Oliver Street and Borland Street.

"I am sure there are many places other citizens would welcome a bench to pause on their walks," she wrote.

Williams Lake is running out of park space for memorial benches, so the City is looking at modifying or completely ending the program. 4:00

With files from Daybreak Kamloops.