After a great deal of pondering about what to do with the vacant lot at 170 Wallinger, City Council has voted that it be used for a Veterans’ Memorial Park.
Working with the veterans’ support group, Military Ames, a draft project has been created. You can view it on the City website at kimberley.ca.
The City has committed $25,000 in matching funds for a grant Military Ames hopes to receive.
“We will be applying to Veterans’ Affairs for a restoration grant,” said Cindy Postnikoff, Military Ames facilitator.
This means some of the current cenotaph will be used in the new one. Postnikoff says this will likely include the plaques from the old cenotaph, and the flag stone.
“The veterans want to remove the flag stone and entomb it in the base of the new monument,” Postnikoff said. “They feel that is a way to respectfully honour the memory of those that Cenotaph honoured.”
The cost estimate for the project is $70,000 with $25,000 coming from the City, $25,000 through the Veterans Affairs grant (if successful) and further monies raised through fundraising. Postnikoff is almost ready to send the grant application off.
“There is no official owner of the current Cenotaph,” she said. “It was built by the original Legion Branch 67 members and volunteers and sits on City property.
“The vision is to have the 2016 Remembrance Day ceremonies at the new Cenotaph. We will know in 12 weeks if we get the grant. In a worst case scenario, the park could be done in phases.
Mayor Don McCormick says that it was necessary to have Military Ames take the lead for granting purposes. He says that public consultation on the draft plan will be accepted. He also says Military Ames is aware that there is a very limited budget for the project and there is a need to plan a park that will not have high maintenance costs.
There is currently $87,617 in the Kimberley Reserve Fund, with more to come from the proceeds of the sale of the Marsden lot, CAO Scott Sommerville informed Council in a report. Council had earmarked proceeds from the sale of City properties for potential use in developing 170 Wallinger.
As for the project itself, the draft plan calls for a park with trees and memorial benches on the outer edges, a lawn dissected by paths in the shape of a cross, and at the centre, three granite headstones symbolizing the enduring memorial to fallen soldiers. There will be upturned lighting to symbolize eternal respect for the remembers. Military Ames believes that the balance and symmetry of the proposed design reflects the orderly and functional traits of military organization.
“It’s a very exciting project,” Postnikoff said. “This park will be absolutely beautiful and a great addition to downtown Kimberley.