The memorial site for double-murder victims Nellie Williams and Fran Shurie, located in Charles Hoey Park, will be allowed to stay for another two months after the City of Duncan changed its policy on temporary memorials. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

The memorial site for double-murder victims Nellie Williams and Fran Shurie, located in Charles Hoey Park, will be allowed to stay for another two months after the City of Duncan changed its policy on temporary memorials. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Duncan allowing memorials to murdered pair stay longer

Policy change related to memorial for double-homicide victims in city park

Temporary memorials that are placed on city-owned property in Duncan will be allowed to stay in place longer, council has decided.

Mayor Michelle Staples told council at its meeting on Jan. 18 that the city had received correspondence and calls over Christmas from a number of residents about the murders of Nellie Williams and Fran Shurie on Christmas Eve, 2019, near the corner of Trunk Road and Canada Avenue.


She said people were asking about the status of the police investigation into the case around the first anniversary of the double homicide, and other related issues.

“All this was happening at the same time that the city was preparing to place a public notice at the site of the temporary memorial [located in Charles Hoey Park near where the crime occurred] that it was time to remove it,” Staples said.

“I talked to staff about the issue and we realized how inappropriate that was, and that the [city’s temporary memorial] policy currently in place doesn’t work that well.”

Just before 11 p.m. on Dec. 24, 2019, North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP officers found Williams and Shurie at the site with life-threatening injuries after receiving calls about an assault.

Both victims were taken to a local hospital but Shurie was soon pronounced dead, and Williams died in hospital on Dec. 28.

Investigators believe the attack was targeted and are pursuing several leads, including two male persons of interest, but no arrests have yet been made in the case.

Soon after the murders, a memorial was set up near the site of the assault by unknown persons, but likely friends and family, that is still in place.

The city’s policy on temporary memorials, which was only established in 2020, states that they are to be in place no longer than 13 months, and a public notice order will be placed at each memorial after 12 months informing the public that it must be taken down within the following four weeks.


In a report written by Allison Boyd, Duncan’s corporate services coordinator, Boyd said, as with every policy, amendments are sometimes needed to suit its purpose, and for the comfort for citizens and council.

She said that under the policy in place, the temporary memorial erected in Charles Hoey Park would be removed on Jan. 24, but due to the uneasiness in the community and council about doing that, the public notice order has not yet been posted, and so the memorial will remain a minimum of one month from when a notice is placed there.


Boyd proposed a number of changes to the policy, including increasing the time a temporary memorial may stay in place from 13 months to 16 months, and to post the public notice orders earlier; after 10 months rather than 12 months.

Council agreed to the changes.

Coun. Carol Newington asked that, considering the serious nature of this particular case and the fact that the crime has not yet be solved, the city place a plaque at the site once the temporary memorial is removed.

Staples said there is no reason why council can’t discuss it.

“I suggest you give something to staff so that it can be discussed at the next council meeting,” she said.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

municipal politics

Just Posted

The Port of Nanaimo has signed a 50-year-agreement with DP World around short-sea shipping operations at Duke Point Terminal. (News Bulletin file photo)
Lease ‘important first step’ in $105-million Nanaimo port expansion project

Port of Nanaimo and DP World sign 50-year shipping operations agreement for Duke Point

City of Nanaimo property crimes map showing 2021 incidents. (City of Nanaimo/Google image)
Safety audits will study effects of crime on Nanaimo neighbourhoods

Six neighbourhoods being selected for project which will get underway next month

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

SAR crews worked late into the night Tuesday to rescue an injured snowboarder in North Vancouver. (Facebook/North Shore Rescue)
Our view: Regular rescues should not be required

Still far too many incidents of people putting themselves at risk

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Nanaimo Courthouse. (News Bulletin file photo)
Motorist sentenced to two years for dangerous driving causing death on Gabriola Island

William Goosman pleaded guilty last fall in connection with incident that killed Jay Dearman

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

A new sign went up at Port Alberni’s food hub in mid-January 2021. (TWITTER PHOTO)
Port Alberni food hub opens commercial kitchen space

Businesses, charitable organizations and individuals can use the facility

The Save-On-Foods Dragonslayers dragon boat team practises in 2019. The Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival Society issued a statement today, Feb. 21, advising that the 2021 event has been cancelled. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival cancelled for a second straight year

Society instead getting started on planning 2022 event

Nico Rhodes, Lucas Smart, James McRae and Kosma Busheikin (from left) recorded their set for the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival’s online video series at the Harbour City Theatre in December. (Photo courtesy François Savard)
Music starts next week at online Nanaimo International Jazz Festival

Ten free, virtual performances to occur over three weeks in March

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

Most Read