New Westminster may need to correct error at Westminster Pier Park

If you're well acquainted with New Westminster's history, you may have noticed a typo on the memory band at Westminster Pier Park.

One of the riverfront park's public art features is a memory band that stretches along the length of the park. Names of places, people, quotes, flora and fauna, dates, events and things of significance to New Westminster have been engraved into the metal memory band that runs between the concrete footpath and the wooden boardwalk at the park.

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Former mayor Beth Wood, who has the distinction of being New Westminster's first female mayor, in included in the memory band, but her name is spelled Woods - an error spotted by a local resident who went for a walk at the park.

With references to Wood and Woods both being found on the Internet, The Record contacted local historians Archie and Dale Miller, who confirmed her surname is spelled Wood.

"It is a concern," Archie Miller said of the error. "There are places to check it. If you are not sure, you have to double check."

Miller said people refer to the former mayor as Wood and Woods when speaking of her, but a quick search through sources like the B.C. Genealogical Society could have detected the error before it was engraved into the metal memory band.

"We will have to get on that," said Dean Gibson, the city's director of parks, culture and recreation. "That will just not do."

Gibson said staff will reconfirm the correct spelling of the former mayor's surname, and take action if needed. "We will certainly get that fixed up."

A May 2011 staff report about art, culture and heritage components being proposed in Westminster Pier Park (such as the historic photo panels and the memory band) included a list of names for the memory band. In that list, Mayor Beth Wood was spelled without an S.

The staff report noted that the words in the memory band would be stencil-cut into panels along the memory band, with the goal of enticing visitors' interest and curiosity as to the significant of each word.

Gibson doubts it will be difficult or costly to change the metal panel containing the former mayor's name.

"It is prefabricating that individual panel. It is not a major production," he said. "I can't imagine it would be very expensive."

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