• During their town hall meeting on March 28, Mayor Iain Lovatt and Councillor Sue Sherban offered personal location preferences for the possible acceptance of a controversial Leopard tank.
  • While stating they are not presupposing anything, both Lovatt and Sherban expressed a desire to see the tank installed at the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum should it be accepted.
  • Emphasizing the importance of assessing the Town’s public survey results before making any final decisions, they also indicated support for Stouffville’s cenotaph to be permanently moved into Memorial Park, as requested by the Stouffville Legion.
  • The survey closes on April 4th, 2024, and a Staff report will detail the results to help inform Council’s final votes.
  • Further comments from Council members are included below.


The originally-approved proposal to relocate the Town’s cenotaph into Memorial Park alongside a donated Leopard tank required the heavily-criticized removal of the Stouffville Horticultural Society’s 150th Canadian Anniversary Garden. Resulting public condemnation of the tank installation and garden destruction led to the project being paused, and an approved resolution from Mayor Lovatt initiated the Town’s ongoing public consultation process.

Over 1,200 online surveys have been completed, and the Stouffville Horticultural Society (SHS) has collected an estimated 200 written surveys for submission to the Town. Their petition has also received more than 2,500 signatures.

During the March 28 meeting, SHS spokesperson Joan Bostock noted that Lovatt and Sherban were the only members of Council to have offered such frank and public positions. Responding to that concern, Bullet Point News reached out to all members of Council asking for statements:

Mayor Iain Lovatt
Our inquiry to Mayor Lovatt and Councillor Sherban sought further clarification of their desire to see the cenotaph permanently relocated to Memorial Park. Specifically, we asked about their preferred park location for the cenotaph and whether it would impact the 150th Canadian Anniversary Garden.

“Iain Lovatt believes [the cenotaph] should be in Memorial Park,” he stated during the March 28 meeting. “Where is up to [the public], as the survey is very clear as to where it could go.”

Saying he did not wish to sway anyone’s position in either direction, Lovatt told us he preferred to keep his Memorial Park location preference private. “I completed the survey and truly believe that Council should heavily consider the will of the people,” he added

Councillor Sue Sherban
Sherban, who represents Ward 6, believes the cenotaph should be reestablished in Memorial Park in a “more significant way.” Sherban said she would support utilization of the 150th Canadian Anniversary Garden site provided it enhances the garden without disturbing it.

However, she is also considering the alternate location near Memorial Park’s Church Street South entrance, as suggested by the Legion in September and included in the survey.

In Sherban’s view, the location near Church Street would allow residents entering the park to recognize service members and pay their respects to fallen soldiers year-round. ”When Staff prepare their report for Council with location options, I will have to review and consider if [a site] further in the park is more advantageous for Remembrance Day celebrations,” she explained.

Councillor Richard Bartley
“I will wait to see what the survey says,” Ward 5 Councillor Bartley replied. “I don’t want the garden taken out and destroyed; however, I would personally like to see the tank and cenotaph incorporated together somewhere in Memorial Park.”

Should any unexpected costs arise from Staff’s final recommendations, Bartley noted that he will prioritize the protection of municipal taxpayers when putting forward his final vote. Any involved costs are expected to be addressed in the upcoming report to Council following conclusion of the Town’s survey period.

Councillor Rick Upton
“I am flexible on the location of the cenotaph and tank,” Ward 4 Councillor Upton said in response to our request. “Stouffville is owned by the residents, and Council must hear their voices. I am looking forward to receiving the results of the survey.”

Councillor Keith Acton
Councillor Acton, who represents Ward 3, referred to comments he made during his own town hall meeting on March 4:

“You’re all bringing things to Council’s and Staff’s attention that maybe we hadn’t thought about,” Acton said of the public’s critical response to the Town’s initial direction. “In regard to the tank, I think we’re all in agreement that there was never any intent to offend anyone…but maybe this isn’t a good way to show respect to our soldiers and people who have fought to give us the freedom we have.”

“So maybe we made a mistake… and good on all of you for bringing this forward, that it’s a good idea to back this up and have this consultation so we can get all points of view,” he added. “But if we have any predetermined decision made right now, that’s not right. We need to let the process move forward and listen to all of your valid points.”

Councillor Hugo Kroon
Ward 1 Councillor Kroon did not respond to our request for comment by the time of publishing. However, he briefly addressed the tank donation during his town hall event on February 27. His statement followed a question from Bostock, asking: “If people don’t want the tank, and they tell you that as a result of the survey, will you abide by that?”

“If you’re asking me to answer that question right now, I won’t,” Kroon replied. “I can’t because I don’t have that information in front of me, and no politician should answer such a question without such information.”

Councillor Maurice Smith
Ward 2 Councillor Smith did not respond to our request for comment by the time of publishing.