A group is devastated after about 1,000 hearts hanging near the North Saskatchewan were torn down.
Each heart was made of made of paper, wood, or other materials, and had a heartfelt message about truth and reconciliation. They had been hanging off trees in what was dubbed a “Healing Forest’ a short distance from River Valley Road.
“For me it’s really disappointing to know that even though they knew who to talk to about this, no one reached out to us,” Sara Kormanisky said on her cell phone while walking along the trail adjacent to the park. “We would have happily met, we would have helped to take them down, we would have taken care of these things because one question that I still have is where are all the hearts?”
“We feared basically that they’ve been thrown away or otherwise not cared for and in this case it’s not the kind of thing you want to see end up in the trash.”
That’s exactly what happened Travis Kennedy said. The acting director for parks operations for that part of the city confirmed crews tore them down last week. The field crews didn’t know any better and acted on their own.
“We should have communicated better with the field staff about the intent of the installation. They weren’t in the loop.”
“They collected the hearts and then took them back to the shop and over the last week they’ve been taken to the dump,” he said. “They feel horrible about it.”
The city will now reach out to the group, known as RISE or Reconciliation in Solidarity Edmonton to talk about another more long lasting project.
“The agreement was the hearts would remain in the current location until that process worked its way through, so we still are wanting to work with the group and help them achieve those goals,” said Juanita Spence the city’s supervisor of river parks and facilities.
Komarnisky hasn’t spoken with the city yet to work out those details.
“We know that people were adding to it. I thought it was a beautiful thing. It’s sad that it’s gone.”
“I’m just kind of walking and seeing if there are any hearts left and actually there are a couple, so that’s kind of good I guess, some bright spots.” (sj, ms)