Bur­goyne Bridge me­mo­ri­als to be moved, added to new work

The Hamilton Spectator - - Local - GRANT LAFLECHE

ST. CATHARINES — The row of flow­ers, cards and notes memo­ri­al­iz­ing those who died at the Bur­goyne Bridge will be re­moved this week­end and made part of an off-site me­mo­rial.

Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Ni­a­gara’s act­ing med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health, said ex­pert opin­ions say me­mo­ri­als at the site of a lo­cal area where peo­ple have died by sui­cide can do more harm than good to a com­mu­nity.

As such, the me­mo­ri­als along the rail­ing of the bridge, where at least three peo­ple have died re­cently, will be re­moved and pre­served. “They are go­ing to be taken to Start Me Up Ni­a­gara, which has a pro­ject called Art Me Up,” said Hirji. “Art Me Up is go­ing to in­cor­po­rate them into a me­mo­rial piece.”

Notes hand­writ­ten onto the metal of the rail­ing have been pho­tographed in high def­i­ni­tion and will also be given to Art Me Up, he said. Hirji said pub­lic health has spo­ken to the fam­i­lies of those who died, and they did not op­pose the move.

In ad­di­tion to the Art Me Up piece, Hirji said a me­mo­rial to those who have died by sui­cide would be added to the re­gional Me­mo­rial For­est at the old Glen­ridge Quarry site in the spring. The park in­cludes sev­eral me­mo­ri­als to those who have suf­fered or died due to mental ill­ness.

Hirji said the pub­lic health depart­ment is deeply con­cerned about “con­ta­gion” — that the mes­sages left at the site might en­cour­age peo­ple to at­tempt sui­cide. Al­though in­tended to memo­ri­al­ize those who died and dis­cour­age any­one else from tak­ing their own lives, he said the mes­sages can have the op­po­site ef­fect on those in cri­sis.

“These in­ci­dents have ob­vi­ously im­pacted the fam­i­lies and the whole com­mu­nity, and those me­mo­ri­als are an ex­pres­sion of grief,” he said. “Mov­ing them to a me­mo­rial off­set al­lows a safer place for peo­ple to have a place to memo­ri­al­ize them.”

The me­mo­ri­als on the bridge will be taken down early Sun­day morn­ing, he said.

‘‘ Art Me Up is go­ing to in­cor­po­rate them into a me­mo­rial piece. DR. MUSTAFA HIRJI Ni­a­gara’s act­ing med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health


One of dozens of me­mo­ri­als for those who died at the Bur­goyne Bridge will be moved to an­other lo­ca­tion Sun­day morn­ing.

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