• Fighting City Hall for Vimy Ridge Park

    Photo Credit Mike Hensen, The London Free Press
    By Dan Brown, The London Free Press Monday, February 20, 2017 original version here: http://www.lfpress.com/2017/02/20/london-city-hall-staff-are-recommending-no-to-two-groups-trying-to-get-parks-named-after-canadas-nation-forging-first-world-war-victory-in-france

    Two different groups hoping to honour First World War veterans want London politicians to do something they rarely do — overrule the bureaucrats.

    Shawn Lewis is the outreach chair for the Argyle Community Association. He and others would like to have a small strip of land officially named Vimy Ridge Park this year, after the nation-defining First World War battle for Canadians whose 100th anniversary is this spring.

    “Everything is in place and the city hasn’t had to spend a dime,” said Lewis.

    In fact, the land in question, next to the Charlie Fox roundabout at Hale and Trafalgar streets, named after a Second World War fighter pilot, is already Vimy Ridge Park as far as the locals are concerned.

    “Frankly, nothing else really fits there,” Lewis said. “Even the mayor has referred to it as Vimy Park in a letter he sent us.”

    In a report headed to city council’s community and protective services committee Wednesday, city staff recommend not granting Lewis his wish. Instead, they want the parcel held pending possible use in a future provincial rapid-transit scheme.

    But Lewis points out such a project might not materialize for a generation, if ever.

    “There are some planning regulations barriers in the way. We wanted to keep the community effort in the community,” added Lewis, who says he’s “very confident in our case.”

    “There’s a beautiful little quiet memorial there” already, with a metal sculpture of a rifle and helmet, he noted.

    Vimy Ridge is often referred to as Canada’s debut as a global power…

    …A separate proposal to rename Mildred Barons Park at 444 Kathleen Ave., also after Vimy Ridge, is being backed by Ward 2 Coun. Bill Armstrong.

    But city staff are also recommending that, too, be denied because, it “may conflict with neighbourhood amenities and uses and its location is not as prominent as would be ideal for a recognition of this significance.”

    Additional coverage from Global News and AM980 Radio is available here: http://globalnews.ca/news/3266184/argyle-community-association-requests-municipal-recognition-of-vimy-ridge-park/

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