April 3, 2012
Vancouver, BC – Abbotsford City Council voted unanimously last night to approve a proposal to construct a monument in honour of the three farmworkers killed five years ago in a tragic van accident that was overcrowded, uninspected and had no seatbelts for 17 farmworkers.
While the families of Amarijit Kaur Bal, Sarabjit Kaur Sidhu, Sukhvinder Kaur Punia, sat in the audience, B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair and local artist Dean Lauze presented the proposal for the monument to the city councillors.
The proposed monument is a 20′ ft. tall tree which is made up of three women. The roots turn into the women at trunk level and the branches become their arms reaching for the sky. It will be located in Mill Lake Park in downtown Abbotsford.
"We are still fighting for the safety of farmworkers but this monument will celebrate the lives of these women and make sure we never forget what happened to them," said Sinclair. "It has taken several years to get to this point and we are committed to seeing the project through."
In speaking to the Council, Sinclair said Abbotsford is an agricultural community and this monument, the first in the province with respect to farmworkers, will be an important addition to the community.
While several councillors had questions about the project, all spoke in favour of it and voted for it. As part of the agreement, the city will provide the support for the monument and do the landscaping. The families and community will fundraise to pay for the construction of the monument.