Sharon Marchant never lived to see her dream of a dog park in the village of Clinton.
But everyone who drops by the park on Cariboo Avenue with their pets will now see the memorial bench that commemorates her love of animals.
“My wife was a big part of the dog park. It’s what she wanted,” her husband Wayne Marchant said. “She just loved animals and all that.”
Marchant, a former village councillor, had been lobbying the village for a memorial bench since Sharon died in 2013 from brain cancer and a collection at her memorial raised $3,000. The village was on board but due to a series of changes in village administration over the years, the idea got lost in the shuffle until council recently approved its parks plan and a memorial bench policy.
Last year – seven years after Sharon died, a bench was installed. It’s one of two in the village so far – the other is in Reg Conn Park – and is one of three designs. Sitting on a concrete base, Sharon’s bench has armrests and a plaque that reads: “In memory of Sharon Marchant. Lover of all animals.”
“Just (Sunday) there was a lady with her dog sitting over there on the bench,” Marchant said in a phone interview Monday. “It’s just a beautiful bench. It was so nice the way they did it. It’s fantastic for the town.”
Karl Hansen, the village foreman, said they decided to go with a bench policy because they had a fair bit of interest. Those who want benches can have one of three designs. The money they pay for the bench covers the cost of installation, while some of it is put away for maintenance. All the benches would be located on village property.
“We may look at putting some on the trails but we haven’t got that far yet,” Hansen said.
Marchant said the bench is a great way to remember his late wife. The couple had retired to Clinton in 2005. Every day, he said, he goes over the dog park – situated across from his house – with his dogs Alice and Reeser. He said he’s amazed at how many people use it, both locals and tourists alike.
“It’s been very successful. I get to see people there every day,” he said, adding he believes Sharon would have been pleased. “I think she would have loved it. She really did love all animals, that was her passion.”