A visibly upset and angry contingent from Military Ames left Kimberley Council Chambers on Monday evening, January 9, 2023, after a narrow vote which denied them permission to place a service dog statue in Veteran Memorial Park.
It’s not the first time Military Ames has brought the request for the statue to Council. They first asked in 2021 and were denied, but that request included a columbaria for service dog ashes. The second time they brought the request forward, the columbaria had been eliminated, the location moved to farthest corner of the park near the Platzl crosswalks, and they came backed with a petition with close to 3,000 signatures in support of its placement in the park.
However, in a four – three split, Council denied the request.
Councillors Woody MaGuire, Kevin Dunnebacke, Jason McBain and Mayor Don McCormick voted no.
McBain said he appreciated all the work that Military Ames has put into the park, and everything they do to support veterans but he had reservations about locating the statue in the park. He was in full support of finding a different location for it, he said.
He said he had received feedback, describing it as “vehement”, that people feel that the monument in the park is personal to them.
Coun. Steve Royer countered that the statue would be as far from the monument as possible, and that Kimberley was a dog-loving community. And he said, with the removal of the columbaria, he had no objections to it.
Coun. Sue Cairns said that she felt the petition showed community support, and that she had reached out for feedback as well, and most of it was positive.
Coun. Kevin Dunnebacke said he understands PTSD, and appreciates Military Ames, but he felt the park was there to honour the men and women who served. He would support a plaque explaining PTSD and service dogs’ role in helping with it, but not the statue, he said.
McCormick said that for himself, the purpose of the cenotaph is about the sacrifice of those who served. He said in talking to people that he realized that not all veterans were in favour of the statue. He was in favour of finding another location, he said.