EDITORIAL – Replacing those stolen monument plaques is long overdue

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

An ArmchairMayorca. editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

EVERY TIME I drive or walk past City Hall I get mad.

Not mad at what’s going on inside; mad at what’s going on outside.

The Overlanders statue at the corner of Victoria Street and First Avenue is an embarrassment. It looks like a neglected remnant of some rundown neighbourhood, and that, in turn, makes the whole corner look the same.

The reason for this unhappy situation is that most of the bronze plaques that told the story of the statue, and of the Overlanders, and of the many sponsors who made donations to make it possible, are gone. The plinth upon which the statue stands is now a battered-looking piece of concrete.

Last spring, some contemptible hoodlums— who remain at large — totally lacking in moral compass, ripped off about two dozen plaques from memorial benches and public art in Riverside Park and elsewhere in the city, including the Overlanders statue.

That crime spree of almost a year ago wasn’t the first time plaques have been stolen. Some of the public art pieces in Riverside Park, legacies from an international sculpture symposium in 2002, have been without their plaques for years.

Why hasn’t anything been done about it?

Jeff Putnam, the City’s facilities manager, says a search is on for a new material to make the plaques out of.

What’s needed is an attractive, durable and much less tempting material.  Replacing the plaques in bronze would cost taxpayers around $40,000; Putnam is hopeful the new material will cost half that, and that the work can be done over the summer.

The good news is that records for the wording of all the plaques has been found, so they can be recreated as they were.

Things have come to a sad state when people would commit such thievery against the very community that supports them, but let’s get on with the repair job.

It’s overdue.

Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear twice daily Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on and CFJC Today. Contact him at




About Mel Rothenburger (6753 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – Replacing those stolen monument plaques is long overdue

  1. “Things have come to a sad state when people would commit such thievery against the very community that supports them…” That is highly arguable. Perhaps in a metaphorical sense, as a rich society with plenty of people on the fringe them people are taking what’s available. Not condoning, just saying…

    • I am curious as to how Mel knows the people that stole these plaques Are “supported” by Kamloops. Most of the plaques were taken in a single weekend, would that not require some sort of vehicle.
      Most people I know that require support of the community do not own a vehicle the size needed to transport that amount of weight. Also which to the point of one of our “honest” scrap dealers would take these items. would people being supported have the means of damaging these items to the point of being unrecognizable .
      In closing, I am tired of media and organizations pointing fingers at people needing “support” of the community.

      • Mel Rothenburger // February 20, 2018 at 7:18 PM //

        Being supported by the community means that it’s your home, that it provides a place to live, work and play, that a community is built by everyone. People who steal from it or vandalize it defecate in their own beds.

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