By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Strict rules put forth by the Royal Canadian Legion governing the use of the poppy have put the kibosh on Cobourg Councillor Adam Bureau’s motion to create a commemorative Poppy Crosswalk in honour of our veterans.
“I remember last year as our former deputy mayor Suzanne Seguin was working on a project to find out the history and the names of the people who did fight in the wars and lived in Cobourg I didn’t want to lose sight of that,” Bureau said at this week’s committee-of-the-whole meeting.
“I did not know there’s that many restrictions on the poppy. It’s been a learning experience for me.
“I would still like to make an amendment and ask us to work with the Legion on coming up with more ideas for Remembrance Day in future.”
The idea had also been downplayed earlier in the council meeting in a delegation by Sandra O’Neill-Brown, making her first council presentation ever to decry the notion of special crosswalks – and this one in particular.
The paint doesn’t last, O’Neill-Brown pointed out, and the new special blends are yet unproven. They end up looking disreputable – in the Seven Feathers Crosswalk, for example, no feathers are left (“just a mess of orange paint”).
And with plans to install it by Nov. 11, she added, a Poppy Crosswalk deteriorate even faster with more immediate exposure to rain, ice, snow and road-clearing operations.
“What is going to be left?” she asked.
“It just doesn’t make sense to be doing this again. It’s dangerous, and it doesn’t really help anybody. It doesn’t support the veterans – it doesn’t do anything for them.”
She wondered if anyone had spoken to the Legion branch about “poppies on the road. People can walk and drive on them. It doesn’t glorify anybody when you make a mess of a symbol.”
Councillor Brian Darling suggested perhaps having a banner made up honouring Cobourg’s veterans and hanging them on the town’s lamp standards for Remembrance Week or perhaps the month of November.
“I do know that the Legion has reached out to the mayor and councillors, and Councillor Bureau was able to shed some light on the use of the poppy.”
“I do want to congratulate Councillor Bureau on bringing this forward – it’s very important to me as an individual,” Councillor Randy Barber said.
“All of the streets in New Amherst were named after Cobourg’s WWI dead, and it’s quite a fascinating story, actually.
“I commend you for bringing it forward. I am sure there’s something we can find that is suitably commemorative for that, to put us out front-and-centre and keep the Legion happy.”
“Thank you to council and the public for giving us so much feedback, and council for allowing us to have this discussion,” Bureau said.
“I look forward to seeing what happens in the future.”