Disrespect towards a signature war memorial atop a landmark Duncan hilltop has shocked and saddened at least one first-time visitor.
Maple Bay’s G.E. Foreman and a friend climbed Mount Prevost, a prominent peak northwest of Duncan, on Oct. 21 to check out its memorial cairn, first erected in 1929 in memory of those who had fallen in the First World War. Later, a second cairn, constructed of granite and more than 10 metres tall, was installed for those fallen in the Second World War.
Foreman, who had never seen the monument before, was eager to see it, as both his parents had served during the Second World War.
He said he was saddened to see that a 4x4 club had arrived before him and had actually driven their vehicles onto the cairn and parked one vehicle’s front wheels on it.
“What a sad sight indeed to see the monument to our fallen soldiers desecrated,” Foreman said.
“With Remembrance Day approaching, I thought it might be worthwhile to remind people of the sacrifices Canadians made in past wars so they could enjoy their freedoms today.”
Al Siebring, the new mayor of the Municipality of North Cowichan in whose jurisdiction the cairn lies, led a campaign to restore and upgrade the cairn in 2000.
“The municipality has placed a series of gates and large boulders on the trails to the cairn to restrict access to motorized vehicles but, obviously, that’s not good enough and we’ll have to take another look,” he said.
“It’s disturbing that the cairn has a long history of vandalism. When we restored the cairn in 2000, we found bullets embedded in the glass of a solar panel that was installed in the 1970s. In an ideal world, the cairn would be respected and left alone. As it is, the municipality will have to take a second look at how we are restricting access to motorized vehicles there.”