A newly planted garden surrounding the Battle Street cenotaph doesn’t do justice to the monument or to the memory of Kamloops soldiers who died in battle.
That’s the view of a local arborist and landscaper, who was disappointed by the selection of flowers and shrubs that surrounds the war monument, newly restored and refurbished, at the foot of Second Avenue and Battle.
Pierre Filisetti of Abacus Gardening and Landscaping said the choice of plants displays a lack of reverence and respect. It looks as though the planting was rushed or random.
“I call this a disrespectful planting,” he said. “There are a lot of memories for people to hang onto here … the bravery of parents when they’re told their offspring won’t be coming back. They had an opportunity to do justice and to create four seasons of interest.”
The plantings include white daisies, flowering echinacea, globe cedar and bearberry, a dwarf ground cover shrub.
Instead, the City should have used flowers such as chrystanthemum, which traditionally represents death, or roses. Appropriate shrubs might include yew trees or boxwood, Filisetti said. The garden lacks design and proper structure.
While he’s known to be a regular critic of City landscaping efforts, Filisetti doesn’t often get as passionate about the flora. A war memorial calls for special treatment, he maintained. The cenotaph should be shown the same care and attention as the gardens in front of City Hall.
“Why not create four corners of beautiful plantings? Who signed off on this?”
City parks officials did not return calls Tuesday or Wednesday.
The cenotaph, erected in 1925, honours fallen soldiers from the First World War as well as from the Second World War, Korean War and the war in Afghanistan.
Restoration of the monument, which began in June, is expected to cost more than $100,000, with donations making up the lion’s share of the expense. About $70,000 has been spent repairing the cenotaph itself and the clock that has stood still, its hour hand at 11 o’clock, for years.
The project is not yet complete.