Memorial bench price increase upsets resident

A recent District of Sooke letter requesting an additional $2,000 from those who bought memorial benches several years ago has left many confused.

Sooke resident Brandy Rittaler is one of them.

The letter is asking people who have bought a memorial bench to submit the money by Jan. 31 to “maintain the bench,” or the plaque will be removed and placed elsewhere.

Rittaler said $1,600 was fundraised in 2006 to buy a bench in honour of her mother, Judy Jamieson, who died 11 years ago, and she was very confused to receive a letter asking for another $2,000 to keep it there.

She decided to contact the district about the renewal policy, and found that she had bought the bench before the policy was implemented, and was never made aware of the price increase.

“I am so disappointed in the District of Sooke for these actions. It feels to me like a heartless money grab,” said Rattler. “I also feel the District of Sooke owes an apology to the people who have received these letters. They have caused more grief and confusion during a time of year many of us struggle with already.”

She explained that the district has been in contact with her, were “very apologetic” and are working to find a solution to the issue.

“I understand that the parks and benches need to be maintained, but I just think the whole thing could have been handled better and they could have given people a warning that the policy had changed,” said Rittaler. “I’m hoping the community will come together and find a better way to manage the policies for the future.”

Sooke mayor Maja Tait said she is empathetic to all parties concerned, and believes there has been some miscommunication that happened along the way to cause this issue.

“I feel sorry for the families who have been impacted, especially at this emotional time of year which is meant for celebrating and remembering family,” said Tait. “Council certainly doesn’t want to make it negative or difficult for anyone and unfortunately it seems like that is what has happened.”

She said a staff report will be brought forward at Monday’s council meeting, and that’s when they will having a meaningful conversation on how to make it right for the people involved.

Just Posted

Runners invited to get set for the 40th annual Goodlife Marathon

More than 9,000 runners expected to pack Victoria streets in October

Lost wedding ring found on Valentine’s Day

Dan Milbrath’s ring is back where it belongs

Victoria installation for the blind causes problems for those with mobility issues

The truncated domes installed at Blanshard and Fort streets aren’t helpful for everyone

Funds being raised for double-amputee Ecuadorean dancer

North Saanich woman is putting out collection jars if people would like to donate

New report finds some Syrian refugees struggling in job market

Government-sponsored refugees have found it more than difficult than privately sponsored refugees

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Homicide police investigate assault turned deadly in Surrey

60-year-old man died at hospital after assault

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

Most Read