At some point between Tuesday, June 21 and Thursday, June 24, 2022, unknown persons removed memorial plaques bolted to boulders at Kimberley Veterans Memorial Park.
The plaques, mounted on boulders that rim the park, contained historical facts about Canada at war, and many of them were donated to the park in memory of military families.
The park is in a highly visible location in Kimberley, right across from the downtown Platzl, and while on city-owned land, was built as a labour of love by the veterans support group Military Ames, with tremendous help from the community.
A visibly upset Cindy Postnikoff, Military Ames coordinator, spoke to the Bulletin on Friday morning about the thefts.
“I’m trying to process it,” she said. “It’s more about the absolute disrespect. I can’t wrap my head around it. It’s like robbing a graveyard. It’s very, very personal to us and those who donated the plaques.”
She says 10 plaques were removed completely and another badly damaged.
“They would not have been easy to remove,” she said. “They were drilled into the boulders with bolts. You really would have had to work hard at it. Every plaque would have been destroyed just getting them off.”
Postnikoff can only speculate that those responsible thought the plaques would have some value, perhaps at a scrap yard. It turns out they don’t.
“Pennies on the pound is what I was told the plaques were worth,” she said. “They won’t be pennies on the pound to replace.”
But they were worth far more than that to Military Ames and the community members who donated them. One of the plaques was a Peace Keepers plaque, donated by an East Kootenay veteran.
“That one is irreplaceable,” Postnikoff said. “There were only so many made. “The veteran who donated it will be devastated. It was a very big deal for him to donate it to Kimberley’s park.”
Postnikoff says she is very grateful that there was no other damage to the park, whose main feature is an impressive black granite cenotaph. The park also contains an oak sapling from the English Oaks at Vimy Ridge.
The park was used for an Act of Remembrance Service just this past Saturday when Military Ames hosted the Veterans Brotherhood Canada from Calgary.
“When those veterans were here on Saturday, they were already making reservations for next year. They love it here, they love the park.”
Kimberley RCMP have released a statement saying that it is unknown at this time why anyone would want to steal the plaques and deface the Kimberley cenotaph.
Police are looking for any information people may have regarding the missing plaques and/or any suspicious occurrences people may remember happening near or around the Kimberley cenotaph during these dates. Should you have any information that could assist these investigations, please contact the Kimberley RCMP at (250) 427-4811.