By Sarah Payne The Tri-City News
Aug 08 2007
The heavy equipment is gone. So are the tents, grids, sorters and dozens of police officers, anthropologists and forensic experts sifting through the dirt at the Pickton pig farm in Port Coquitlam.
The buildings have been bulldozed and all that remains is a swath of bare land dotted with mounds of dirt. The landscape has changed dramatically from five years ago, when the property was dotted with a home and various farm buildings, and it will continue to change, says Chilliwack resident Ernie Crey. Investigators found DNA of his sister, Dawn Crey, on the property but Pickton has not been charged in her death.
Crey wants to have a small memorial placed near the property, maybe a cairn, to commemorate the life of Dawn Crey and the 26 women Pickton is charged with killing; his trial for six of those charges is entering its eighth month in New Westminster Supreme Court.
Crey realizes that such a memorial may be contentious, given the ongoing trial, but feels itís important to offer families a place to go.
ďI would like to see something now, but Iím not opposed to the idea that more time be taken,Ē he said. ďEvery few months that go by the place changes and at some point down the road no one will know where the site is.
ďLocal people will know... but the overwhelming majority [of the missing womenís families] Iím guessing havenít even been there ó they may not have had the means to go there, they may not have wanted to go there ó but at some point they may want to go back to the site, and reflect on the lives of loved ones theyíve lost.Ē
Crey isnít sure where the cairn could go. The city may have a right-of-way on Dominion Road, or it may belong to the commercial property across the street; putting it on the Pickton property itself isnít a likely option.
Any inscriptions on the cairn could be suitably vague to avoid any legal issues or controversy, he added.
There is a similar monument in Vancouverís Downtown Eastside; Crey said itís in the name of a woman who went missing from the area in the 1970s but still serves as a place to honour all women whoíve vanished from the cityís troubled streets.
ďThat monument hasnít caused any controversy... itís discreet, and for people to whom the monument really means something they can go there to remember, to honour their memory,Ē Crey said. He hasnít discussed the idea for a PoCo memorial with the other womenís families, saying itís just something he would personally like to see.
Tony Chong, PoCoís city manager, said it was difficult for him to comment on the idea since nothing has actually been proposed to the city. The potential monumentís size would need to be considered in relation to things like utility alignments and traffic safety concerns, he said.