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Hunk of metal falls off disputed Markham cow statue

Last Updated Apr 9, 2018 at 9:05 pm EDT

Residents of Markham's Cathedraltown neighbourhood are renewing their calls to get a statue of Charity the cow moved to greener pastures after a hunk of metal fell off this weekend. CITYNEWS/Tony Fera

Residents of Markham’s Cathedraltown neighbourhood are renewing their calls to get a statue of Charity the cow moved to greener pastures after a hunk of metal fell off this weekend.

“I’m concerned about the safety of this statue,” says resident Anne Mak. “I’m just worried that it could hurt myself, one of the kids, or anyone who is walking their dogs in the park.”

There is now a safety fence surrounding the statue, which is made of polished silver metal. The cow is on stilts and stands tall over the local parkette. It’s in the image of Charity, a prizewinning show cow.

On Sunday, one of Mak’s neighbours found a large metal leaf, weighing nearly a pound, speared into the earth below the statue. The leaf is part of a garland circling Charity’s neck, and is bigger than an adult’s hand.

The larger-than-life statue was installed by developer Helen Roman-Barber in honour of her father, who once owned Charity, and the farmland that she now stands on, surrounded by a subdivision. The statue was approved by Brampton’s city council, but some residents were up in arms about the design.

Last fall, city council voted to move the 25-foot-high cow, but six months later, it’s still standing.

“They told us it was going to be moved by the end of 2017, but it’s still here in our park,” says Mak.

City staff say they are evaluating three alternative locations for the bovine on stilts, based on cost, the readiness of the site, and when it could be installed. Staff expect to bring a report to council sometime this month. The city says the reason for the delay is that the statue — which isn’t actually completed yet — is still technically owned by the donor, who is reluctant to sign it over.

“It’s written in the contract that upon completion of the installation of the cow, the ownership will be transferred from the donor to the city automatically. However, during the installation, we wanted the donor to stop any work, because we knew that the cow would be relocated or removed one day,” says area councilor Alan Ho. “Because of that, the donor is using this as the ownership is still in their hands.”

A spokesperson for Roman-Barber says they are working on getting the fallen leaf fixed. As of right now, he says no decision has been reached with the city about moving this fixture. He says as far as his client is concerned, the cow is already where it belongs.