Kimberley City Council has denied a request by Military Ames to erect a statue of a service dog that would contain a columbaria for military service dog ashes at Veterans Memorial Park.
Most councillors expressed the utmost admiration for Military Ames and all they have done to build the Memorial Park, but also expressed discomfort with the idea of the columbaria.
Coun. Nigel Kitto said it was sensitive subject, but the ashes of military veterans were not put in the park, and neither should the ashes of animals.
“I don’t think it’s the right place to be doing this,” he said, adding that he had spoken to some local veterans who felt the same.
Coun. Sandra Roberts said she didn’t feel the park should become a cemetery.
“It’s a difficult issue,” said Coun. Darryl Oakley. “Military Ames work in the park is world class. I’m not a veteran, but I am a city councillor and that’s a city park. I’m uncomfortable with it.”
“The purpose of a cenotaph is to honour those that died,” said Mayor Don McCormick. “Military Ames added to that to honour those who served. That was an extension of the park. The thing about these service dogs is that they were not in military service. I can’t minimize the value of the service dogs, but I don’t think a columbaria fits with what the public expects. It’s a public park. I don’t think this is an appropriate extension of what people would want for what has become a well liked park.”
Council unanimously voted down the motion to support the statue and columbaria. Coun. Kyle Dalum recused himself from the vote and discussion, due to his involvement with Military Ames.