Kitchener statues project boosters 'perplexed' by negativity

Kitchener residents have one more day to provide feedback on whether or not they want to see 22 life-size statues of Canadian prime ministers built in Victoria Park. City councillors say most of the feedback they've received so far is negative.

Kitchener residents have until Friday to answer city survey

The project would cost $2 million and the citizens group says it has $1.1 million pledged from private donors. They're asking the city for $300,000 in funding. (Brian St. Denis/CBC)

The proponents of a proposal to install 22 life-sized statues of prime ministers in Victoria Park in Kitchener say they are "perplexed" by negative public response.  

“We believe we’re bringing forward a project that has a lot to offer the city and the region in a host of ways,” said Jim Rodger, a member of the citizen donor group behind the initiative. 

The statues project has historical and economic benefits, from providing learning opportunities to increasing tourism to the city, Rodger said.   

"It's something that can draw attention and tourists and dollars to Kitchener," he said.

The idea was put forward in November by the local citizens group who want the statues erected in time to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017.

The project will cost $2 million, and organizers, including Rodger, say they have $1.1 million already raised through pledges from private donors. They’re asking the city for a $300,000 contribution over three years to fund the bases of the statues, as well as the electrical and landscaping elements.  

The city has asked the public whether or not this is a project they would support. Coun. Frank Etherington, who oversees the ward in which Victoria Park is located, has said much of the reaction he's heard is negative. This was also reflected in some of the feedback CBC received following Jim Rodger interview on The Morning Edition.

Kitchener residents have until Friday to provide feedback on whether or not they want to see the statues of Canadian prime ministers built in Victoria Park.

The city's online survey can be found here.


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