The mystery of the missing Rotary wheel at Chilliwack Central Park has been solved.
While some had suggested the wheel had been stolen, it’s actually in the hands of the City of Chilliwack. The wheel was installed when the park was created in 2006, to commemorate the hard work and financial contribution of local Rotarians.
For 13 years, it had been part of the welcoming entranceway to the downtown park, solidly inset in the pavement.
But about three weeks ago, city staff noticed the wheel was damaged. So, they removed it and are working at restoring it to its original state. This weekend, a Progress reporter noticed it was gone and asked the Rotary if they were aware. They weren’t, and put the call out for some answers.
City spokesperson Jamie Leggatt said it was removed for safety reasons and to have it repaired.
“Once it is refurbished, we will reinstall it,” she said.
The Rotary Club of Chilliwack was relieved to hear the news that it had been found “safe and mostly sound.”
“Thanks to some sleuthing by our ever-vigilant partners at the City of Chilliwack Parks department, we learned the wheel had been removed about three months ago due to a possible tripping hazard – a small piece of a cog had been bent. The metal and granite wheel had been cemented into place, and the parks people took about three hours to try to remove it safely,” they wrote on their Facebook page.
“We’re meeting with parks staff later this week, and we’ll try to determine how best to replace the wheel in the park. We’ll also look at ways we can communicate better with each other if something similar happens again,” they added.
They thanked everyone for caring and alerting them to the situation.
“We truly appreciate all of your support,” they said.
The park’s creation was big news back in 2005. It was an expansion of the Jean McNaughton/Happy Wilkinson park in the same location, the small green area that remains along Young Road. The Rotary contributed $50,000 toward the $1.3 million price tag. Many companies and organizations gave their services either free or at a discount to get the project done. Individuals and families also contributed, and those names are engraved on pathway stones at the entrance of the park as well.