The ‘eternal’ flame at White Rock cenotaph is proving anything but.
According to the City of White Rock’s manager of communications and government relations, Amanda Silvers, eroded underground piping is the culprit for the noticeable fizzling of the flames – intended to honour veterans and those who gave their lives in service – prior to Remembrance Day ceremonies this year.
“The piping needed to deliver gas to light the cenotaph is in very poor condition, and we are requesting $15,000 in the 2023 Asset budget to make repairs,” Silvers wrote in response to a question posed by Peace Arch News earlier this month.
The issue was raised during question period at White Rock council’s Nov. 21 meeting by South Surrey resident and 11-year CAF veteran Emily Gamble.
Gamble said that while she appreciated the sincerity of White Rock’s Remembrance Day ceremonies on Nov. 11, she had noticed that the cenotaph flame was not lit.
The ceremonies, which are conducted by the Royal Canadian Legion, with the participation of the city, fire and police personnel and local cadet groups, drew an estimated 1,200 residents this year.
“Given the weight of what the eternal flame represents, it would be most advantageous if it could be investigated as to why it is not, currently, ablaze,” she said.
“It would be nice to see the flame reinstated and maintained.”
Chief Administrative Officer Guillermo Ferrero told Mayor Megan Knight that he did not know why the flame was not lit during this year’s ceremonies – he noted it had been in 2021 – but that he would look into it and report back to council.
Following the meeting, Coun. Christopher Trevelyan told PAN that he had seen repeated attempts by operations staff to light the flame prior to the ceremonies, but that they had not been successful in keeping it alight.