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Memorial honouring Lynn Valley tragedy victims incorporates mulch from donated flowers

A flowering dogwood tree has been planted one year after the North Vancouver stabbing attacks
Lynn Valley attacks flower memorial
Flowers from the huge memorial which grew outside the Lynn Valley Village library complex following last year's shocking attack have been composted and used by North Vancouver District to plant a memorial dogwood tree.

In honour of the victims and all those affected by the Lynn Valley tragedy last year, the District of North Vancouver is installing a memorial bench and flowering dogwood tree to provide a place of reflection and continued support.

Being unveiled on Sunday (March 27), the memorial at the Lynn Valley Village plaza was carefully and compassionately constructed by district staff, Mayor Mike Little said, adding the district wanted to support the “continuity from the outpouring of support from the broader community as best we can.”

Sunday marks one year from the date of a stabbing spree that left one woman dead and six others injured at near the Lynn Valley Village library complex and plaza.

The dogwood tree, chosen for its representation of hope, resilience, and strength, is planted in soil and mulch made from the incredible outpouring of flowers and plants laid at the site last year.

“We decided early on to keep supporting the floral display and make sure that that was well kept. Even though we obviously had to scale it down as the items wilted, we kept all of that material and knew that we wanted to use it going forward,” Little said. “So wrapping pieces from the floral, the cellophane … some of that was used in some art pieces. And the flowers themselves were separated for mulch, so that we would be able to take the by product from the initial display and use it towards supporting the memorial going forward.”

Little said while it is important to commemorate the victims and those affected by the tragedy, “it is a bit of a balancing act for the community.” He believes the district struck the right tone.

“We want to be able to make sure that someone who needs it can use the space for quiet reflection. We also want to recognize that this is a civic plaza, that we want it to be able to be a vibrant and fun space for people. And so we wanted to strike the right balance between having a place that somebody could rest, but also still retaining the space for public events.”

Little noted that while the district would eventually like the space to be used for celebratory events in the future, we need to be cognizant that there are a lot of people in the community who are at different stages with their grief.

“Many of the families that were involved [in the tragedy] decided to remain private, and we're respecting that. … Some want to move on, and some aren't ready to move on, and still need to address their grief over the matter, which they're going to be dealing with for many years to come,” he said. “And so, people are at different points along the path. And we're just trying to make sure that the space can accommodate as many people as we can.”

To allow those closest to the tragedy a more modest recognition, there will be no open public gathering to mark the anniversary. But Little said the bench and memorial tree will be available for people to use at their pleasure going forward.

Charlie Carey is the North Shore News' Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.