An impassioned debate inside City Hall yesterday ended with the municipality's elected officials voting down Coun. Dawn Sloane's request to reconsider the planned location for a new monument dedicated to fallen peace officers.

 

The Halifax Downtown representative made a motion "to re-examine the placement of the Fallen Peace Officers Memorial to another location within Grand Parade Park."

 

Sloane argued previous plans for redesigning the Grande Parade have looked at everything from removing the mast and flagpole to adding water features and an ice rink. "Yet, your worship, it doesn't take into account this memorial."

 

City documents say the memorial will be built in the shape of an arch and sit in the middle of the city square as a symbol of "shared history, passage and transition."

But Sloane said placing the monument in the planned location will make it more difficult to hold festivals in the Grand Parade, suggesting it instead be put in a more passive place that doesn't disturb the ability for people to gather in the area.

But Coun. Mary Wile (Clayton Park West) called yesterday's motion "an insult to our police forces."

"The Grand Parade was not meant to be an entertainment facility," she said. "It is rather a place of respect and dignity. That's the reason why the cenotaph was placed there and that's the reason why the police forces selected this site."

But Deputy Mayor David Hendsbee (Preston-Lawrencetown-Chezzetcook) said he doesn't see a problem with "restudying the landscape and trying to incorporate more public space."

Coun. Barry Dalrymple (Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank), who served as an RCMP officer for more than three decades, said "many of those fallen officers would probably be very proud today because what they defend, as in democracy, is working."

Nevertheless, he said the planned location for the memorial, which was pinned down after three years, is a promise that should be kept. "We're too late to try and change this now."