Dog fight brewing over unauthorized memorial in Surrey park for popular pooch

Click to play video: 'Surrey dog walkers lobby to keep ‘Jack’ memorial'
Surrey dog walkers lobby to keep ‘Jack’ memorial
WATCH: Surrey dog walkers lobby to keep "Jack" memorial – Feb 18, 2020

There’s a dog fight brewing in Surrey over the future of a small memorial in Tynehead Regional Park.

At the centre of the dispute is an engraved stone bearing the name “Jack.”

It was placed in an out-of-the-way part of the park’s off-leash dog area more than a decade ago, when Jack was chased into traffic by a coyote.

Jack’s owner, John, a part of a tight-knit group of dog owners who frequented the park, has since passed away after losing his own battle with cancer.

“John wouldn’t come down for about a week,” a friend who identified herself only as Barb told Global News.

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“And when we finally talked him into coming down, the stone was placed and he stood in the rain, because it was pouring rain — just crying, he was so touched.”

Click to play video: 'Decision to remove memorial bench strikes a chord with Vancouverites'
Decision to remove memorial bench strikes a chord with Vancouverites

In recent days, a notice from the District of Metro Vancouver, which operates the park, has popped up near the stone, warning that the memorial will be removed — despite no one lodging a complaint.

“When [parks staff] find things that have been placed in the park without permission our policy and our procedure is — with respect — we put up a notice [and] the notice is posted for a few weeks, trying to notify the owner and requesting that the object be removed,” said Mike Redpath, Metro Vancouver’s director of regional parks.
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Redpath says the people who want to link a memory with a Metro Vancouver park are encouraged instead to go through an approved program, such as a memorial bench.

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A memorial bench in Metro Vancouver parks costs between $2,800 and $4,500 for a 15-year term.

The prospect of the stone’s removal has other dog walkers that knew Jack and John scratching their heads.

“We put it so that nobody would see it, we thought. It’s been there almost 13 years,” said Barb. “If you can’t have a rock in a park, I don’t know what to say.”

Greta Starr, who’s been walking her dogs in the park for about 11 years, was equally baffled.

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“I can understand the park being upset about it if they had done it within a year of it being in … I could also understand if there was a whole bunch of other stones popping up around the park, but there’s not,” she said.

“Let it be and grandfather it in.”

— With files from Catherine Urquhart

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