The memorial site for double-murder victims Nellie Williams and Fran Shurie, located in Charles Hoey Park, will be allowed to stay for another two months after the City of Duncan changed its policy on temporary memorials. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

The memorial site for double-murder victims Nellie Williams and Fran Shurie, located in Charles Hoey Park, will be allowed to stay for another two months after the City of Duncan changed its policy on temporary memorials. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Duncan allows temporary memorials to stay longer

Policy change related to memorial for double-homicide victims in city park

Temporary memorials that are placed on city-owned property in Duncan will be allowed to stay in place longer, council has decided.

Mayor Michelle Staples told council at its meeting on Jan. 18 that the city had received correspondence and calls over Christmas from a number of residents about the murders of Nellie Williams and Fran Shurie on Christmas Eve, 2019, near the corner of Trunk Road and Canada Avenue.


She said people were asking about the status of the police investigation into the case around the first anniversary of the double homicide, and other related issues.

“All this was happening at the same time that the city was preparing to place a public notice at the site of the temporary memorial [located in Charles Hoey Park near where the crime occurred] that it was time to remove it,” Staples said.

“I talked to staff about the issue and we realized how inappropriate that was, and that the [city’s temporary memorial] policy currently in place doesn’t work that well.”

Just before 11 p.m. on Dec. 24, 2019, North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP officers found Williams and Shurie at the site with life-threatening injuries after receiving calls about an assault.

Both victims were taken to a local hospital but Shurie was soon pronounced dead, and Williams died in hospital on Dec. 28.

Investigators believe the attack was targeted and are pursuing several leads, including two male persons of interest, but no arrests have yet been made in the case.

Soon after the murders, a memorial was set up near the site of the assault by unknown persons, but likely friends and family, that is still in place.

The city’s policy on temporary memorials, which was only established in 2020, states that they are to be in place no longer than 13 months, and a public notice order will be placed at each memorial after 12 months informing the public that it must be taken down within the following four weeks.


In a report written by Allison Boyd, Duncan’s corporate services coordinator, Boyd said, as with every policy, amendments are sometimes needed to suit its purpose, and for the comfort for citizens and council.

She said that under the policy in place, the temporary memorial erected in Charles Hoey Park would be removed on Jan. 24, but due to the uneasiness in the community and council about doing that, the public notice order has not yet been posted, and so the memorial will remain a minimum of one month from when a notice is placed there.


Boyd proposed a number of changes to the policy, including increasing the time a temporary memorial may stay in place from 13 months to 16 months, and to post the public notice orders earlier; after 10 months rather than 12 months.

Council agreed to the changes.

Coun. Carol Newington asked that, considering the serious nature of this particular case and the fact that the crime has not yet be solved, the city place a plaque at the site once the temporary memorial is removed.

Staples said there is no reason why council can’t discuss it.

“I suggest you give something to staff so that it can be discussed at the next council meeting,” she said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

municipal politics

Just Posted

From left: Thomas Kuecks, David Lane, John Ivison, Denis Berger, Rod Gray, and James Kuecks are Cabin Fever. Catch their performance on the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre website. (Ashley Foot photo)
A&E column: Music Festival winners, CVAC awards, and Cabin Fever

The latest from the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

The city-owned lot at 361 St. Julien St., which has been home to a temporary homeless site for more than a year, will be sold and plans are to build a three-storey mixed-use development there, Peter de Verteuil, Duncan CAO explained at a recent council meeting. (File photo)
New development planned for homeless site in Duncan

Lot on St. Julien Street would see three-storey building

Historian and longtime Citizen columnist T.W. Paterson photographs the historical wreckage of a plane on Mount Benson. Paterson recently won an award from the British Columbia Historical Foundation. (Submitted)
Cowichan’s Tom W. Paterson wins award for historical writing

British Columbia Historical Federation hands Recognition Award to local writer

This electric school bus is the newest addition to the Cowichan Valley School District’s fleet. (Submitted)
Editorial: New electric school bus good place to start

Changing public transit like buses to electric really is important.

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Most Read