Ask Vancouver Park Board to keep Colin Mackay's memorial bench.

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My name is Julia Goudkova, and I’m a local artist. On July 2, 2015, my world had shattered. I unexpectedly lost my partner of 9 years, Colin Leslie Mackay, to a motorcycle accident. Colin was many things to many people: son, brother, uncle, friend, teacher, anti-bullying activist, writer, poet, actor, bartender and world-adventurer. To me, he was my soulmate. His infectious, vibrant energy inspired all those around him. He loved life and seized every moment.

This July 2nd will mark 4 years since Colin's passing. Our family, friends and community had planned to gather at his memorial bench in Kitsilano (by Ogden and Maple) to hold a sacred ceremony and honour the man who had forever touched our lives. His memorial bench was beginning to look weathered and grey, and I felt inspired to breathe some life and colour back into it. I spent over 4 days sanding, washing, priming and painting it. 

In that time, I’ve had the privilege of speaking with 100s of passers-by. It was a humbling and touching experience. Almost everyone had stopped to express their appreciation for the art and inquire about the bench. Sharing my story about Colin had opened up the door for others to share their own stories of loss, love, hope and inspiration. Many kept returning to the bench to watch the progress. Some left behind notes of support, others brought me chocolate.

People asked with enthusiasm: “are you going to paint them all”? Many had encouraged me to apply for an art grant to paint other benches on this kits beach strip. I was planning on looking into it after July 2nd. What an honour it would have been to work with the families of those who had passed (bench donors) and our city. 

Unfortunately, today I received the news that the Vancouver Park Board will remove and replace Colin's bench TODAY or TOMORROW. I pleaded with the city officials to keep it up until the memorial ceremony on July 2nd, but to no avail. 

How is it that so many of the residents of this city LOVE this public art, and yet the city is set on destroying it? 

Please add your voice asking the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation to reconsider their decision. Thank you kindly!