Workers’ memorial coming to Shipyards Park

A statue to honour fallen workers will be installed in Shipyards Park. Bela Simo, who made the “Thinker” statue in the park and the “Reborn” statue outside of Yukon Arts Centre will make the work.

A statue to honour fallen workers will be installed in Shipyards Park. Bela Simo, who made the “Thinker” statue in the park and the “Reborn” statue outside of Yukon Arts Centre will make the work. It will be made from heavy-duty aluminum and sprayed with powder-coated paint. The paint will make any vandalism easier to repair.

The Yukon Federation of Labour and the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board are paying for the memorial. Union members will do maintenance on the site. The city does not need to spend any money on the statue.

The statue will be located along the Riverfront Trail in Shipyards Park between the parking lot and the river.

“There couldn’t be a better place for a memorial of this kind,” Coun. Kirk Cameron said Monday. “By the river, this kind of calm, solemn location speaks to having a place of contemplation.”

The memorial means a lot to his family, said Mayor Dan Curtis. His father worked in mines throughout the territory. On July 5, 1982, he was working on the fifth wheel at the dam. He came home “still full of driller’s mud and stuff” and had a heart attack and died, said Curtis.

He “worked right to the bitter end,” said Curtis. Even though his dad didn’t die on the job, the family thinks his work could have been a contributing factor, he said.

The Yukon is known for mining, but it’s a dangerous trade, he said. The memorial is a good reminder, especially to youth, that no one is invincible, said Curtis.

The federation and the workers’ compensation board would like to have the memorial up by April 29, 2014 to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Workers’ Compensation Day of Mourning in Canada.