London mayor shares personal tragedy as city considers roadside memorials
One vehicle is missing its entire back end following a double fatal collision at Highbury Avenue and Dundas Street in London, Ont, on Thursday September 8, 2016. (Justin Zadorsky / CTV London)
LONDON, ONT. -- Mayor Ed Holder spoke about his own heartache after losing a child in a collision as politicians weighed a request for a roadside memorial sign.
The Civic Works Committee was discussing a request for a MADD Canada memorial sign at the intersection of Highbury Avenue and Dundas Street by Shauna Andrews, whose 23-year-old son Cody was killed by an impaired driver in 2016.
Currently the signs are only permitted along provincial highways.
While the 1996 collision that claimed the life of Holder’s 14-year-old son Bruno was not alcohol-related, Holder said he understands a parent’s desire for a permanent memorial near an accident scene.
“For 10 years I laid a wreath on his death date, Dec.r 20, right through to Boxing Day,” explained the mayor. “It was a wreath I laid at the southeast corner of Fanshawe and Richmond.”
But Holder warned that memorials can become a visual distractions along roadways.
“I do not want to see a cross or a memorial at every place, at every intersection, at every corner, at every other spot."
The mayor would prefer a single location be chosen for a permanent memorial that could incorporate the names of all victims of impaired driving in London.
The committee unanimously recommended a motion by Councillor Elizabeth Peloza directing civic administration to work on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with MADD Canada that would see the agency cover all costs related to a memorial program.
The MOU would be based on an existing agreement for memorial signs along provincial highways.
Holder’s suggestion of a single location for a permanent memorial would also be part of the negotiations.
“Finding an appropriate place to do a permanent installation of these signs, recognizing that sometimes at an intersection where you lost a loved one it’s just not possible to have a sign,” explained Peloza.
Council will discuss the committee recommendation at its meeting on July 21.