Sculpture proposal to recognize women behind Arthur cenotaph park

Mary Schmidt believes it is time to give women their due.

On Oct. 19, Schmidt, on behalf of the Arthur downtown revitalization committee, came to Wellington North council asking for proposals for a public sculpture for the Arthur village cenotaph park.

In her presentation, Schmidt said that the metal sculpture would commemorate the women who purchased the land on the main street in the village, then raised funds to erect a stone cenotaph.

The cenotaph was originally to have been on a property across from the old high school, however Schmidt said the women of the village felt the cenotaph should be closer to the downtown.

The metal sculpture should be no more than five feet in height and would be installed in the middle of the large flower bed located within the cenotaph park.

The statue would be un­veiled on June 6, 2010, during a Royal Canadian Legion service.

She said the budget is to be no more than $2,500.

“The determination of the person to be awarded this proposal will be judged on both artistic design and cost, and decided by a committee made up of people from the Arthur downtown revitalization committee, Arthur Legion and Wellington North council.”

The deadline for an artistic submission is Nov. 9.

Schmidt hopes the process will give the artist six to seven months to complete a sculpture prior to its unveiling.

Mayor Mike Broomhead noted the item had already been discussed at the economic development committee.

“Basically, you’re not asking for additional funding, you’re asking to use money already allotted for 2009,” said Broomhead.

Schmidt added since the sculpture would be in a park the township owns, she wants to make certain things are done in the correct way.

“As you know the downtown revitalization committee has been working on updates for the downtown area,” she said.

Some of those improvements include new garbage cans, benches and the entryway park, with landscaping and sidewalks.

However, she believes there are still some items that need to be addressed, including the retaining wall in front of the Arthur branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.

“Since it has finally been established that indeed it is up to the township to maintain, I would expect that this would be included in next year’s budget,” she said.

Schmidt believes the current state of disrepair “creates a very poor impression” regarding the Township of Wellington North.

She hoped council would consider different ways to address the wall issue. She also expressed hope council would consider repairs that would allow its use as a commemorative wall.

“This could become a fundraiser for the Legion, providing they want to do that,” she said. She also pointed to it as a spot where visitors could learn more about Canada’s most patriotic village.

Schmidt said there are alternatives to poured concrete – a precast wall. The cost is comparable and there are not as many issues with the foundation, she said.

Broomhead said a meeting has already been set up with Don Tremble of the Legion.

Schmidt said it is totally up to the Legion whether it is used as a commemorative wall, but the repairs still need to be made.

Broomhead said there has been a number of good ideas expressed, but they will still need to come to council with proper recommendations.

Other areas Schmidt is concerned about include the state of the flower beds in front of the downtown chamber of com­merce office, and one in the cenotaph park.

“Both need to have brickwork done, as the stones are pulling away from each other,” she said. “It has been something mentioned numerous times.”

She cited the flower bed in the cenotaph park “where there are a number of metal stakes basically holding it together.”

She also stated the siren tower located behind the chamber office should be torn down because, “It is a safety hazard.”

She added the fire department seems agreeable to having the siren moved to the fire hall building “where it should be … I think it’s time to get it moved.”

Broomhead said that is currently being considered.

Schmidt also has concerns about which township department is in charge of looking after the cenotaph park.

She said when she attended a parks and recreation committee last February, she was assured it would be dealt with.

“I’m still not sure that it’s been addressed. I have felt the care of the park has been an ongoing concern, for the past five years … if not longer,” she said.

She added even the children’s play area at the arena is also raises concerns – both the play equipment and the Opti-Mrs. shelter at the site.

“This is the only park where small children can come and play at in the village,” she said.

She felt it important that park be in good shape because of the number of summer visitors during various Sports events at the community centre.

“It is important that it is in the best of shape so parents and children can enjoy their time there,” she concluded.