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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Duncan’s City Hall will get a seismic assessment this year. (File photo)
Duncan City Hall to get seismic assessment

City hopes grants will help pay for seismic upgrades

Vandals damaged a picnic table at Spectacle Lake Park with a chainsaw earlier this month. (Linda Mills photo)
Editorial: Vandals make victims of us all

It is infuriating when people target public property for vandalism.

Vees' Jack Barnes picked up his second goal of the season in the team's 5-0 win over Merritt on Saturday. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Cowichan Capitals in deadline dilemma with 20-year-old players

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

The latest homeless count in the Valley found 129 in a 24-hour period. (File photo)
Latest homeless count reveals 129 in the Cowichan Valley

But local officials believe number is higher

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
Island-raised musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah closes out the movie

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing escalates to stabbing in Nanaimo

Victim, struck with coffee cup and then stabbed, suffers minor injuries; suspect arrested

A battery electric-hybrid ferry, pictured here, is expected to make its way to Vancouver Island in late 2021, says B.C. Ferries. (Submitted photo)
Hybrid ferry for Gabriola-Nanaimo route launches in shipyard in Europe

Two hybrid vessels to replace MV Quinsam by early 2022, says B.C. Ferries

The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

The Port of Nanaimo has signed a 50-year-agreement with DP World around short-sea shipping operations at Duke Point Terminal. (News Bulletin file photo)
Lease ‘important first step’ in $105-million Nanaimo port expansion project

Port of Nanaimo and DP World sign 50-year shipping operations agreement for Duke Point

A BC Ferries worker out of Swartz Bay has tested positive for COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Swartz Bay ferry worker confirmed to have COVID-19

Employees in direct contact with worker now isolating

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

Most Read