Councillor working with families to come up with more permanent memorial
Ottawa city councillor David Chernushenko says he has received complaints from residents who say an impromptu memorial to a cyclist who died 15 months ago should be taken down.
A white painted bicycle along with a few potted flowers and some seasonal pumpkins, marks the intersection at Bank Street and Riverside Drive where cyclist Meg Dussault, 56, was killed on July 30, 2013, after her bicycle was hit by a cement truck.
Meg Dussault's widower, Paddy Dussault, says though he didn't put up the ghost bike, he still finds himself drawn to the improvised memorial and the peace it provides.
But Chernushenko says he's heard from about two dozen residents who say the ghost bike makes it hard to navigate the sidewalk, and that when flags fly at the memorial, it potentially becomes a distraction for motorists and cyclists.
He said it might be time for the memorial to come down, but said the city has no plans to do so.
"It's not a burning issue for people but it’s a concern," said Chernushenko. "Do memorials to someone belong on a public space and if so, for how long?"
"You can't make hard and fast rules here — ideally I'd like to see the family and friends who put the memorial up recognize that after a year now, there may be other ways to remember their friend and loved one," he said.
To that end Chernushenko has been working with other families, including Danielle Naçu's brother Brent, for a permanent memorial to all of Ottawa's cyclists killed in traffic.
The city is working with the families on a memorial at a green space at Bronson Avenue and Colonel By Drive, but said it would not be focused solely on the deaths.
"It would be a celebration of cycling as well as memorial site," he said, as families he has spoken to say they want to remind people about why their loved ones cycled in the city.
"Their message would be keep cycling, it’s liberty, it’s pleasurable," he said.