New Port Hardy cenotaph taking shape
A new vision for the cenotaph in Port Hardy’s Carrot Park is taking shape thanks to the work of veterans in the town.
The 101 (North Island) Squadron, along with members of the Royal Canadian Legion, formed a working committee after taking on the project. They have had their plan agreed to in principle by Port Hardy Council, and representatives presented the vision for the site to councillors during last week’s council meeting.
101 Sq. member Russ Hellberg led the presentation and explained that the current cenotaph, erected in the mid-1980s, had, “done us well over the years but the foundation was pretty poor.”
Hellberg explained the committee was seeking the district’s assistance in applying for grant money to fund the updated cenotaph, and presented an artistic impression of the final product.
The current cenotaph, focal point for Remembrance Day and other ceremonies in the town, would be taken down entirely and replaced by a modernized triptych version.
The vision is to retain the cross from the current cenotaph and add it to a new monument. This will be flanked by a monument to the forgotten soldier and a memorial totem.
The memorial totem, currently positioned by the Chamber of Commerce office, was carved by local artist Calvin Hunt and commemorates members of First Nations who served in past conflicts.
The three monuments would be backed by a grassy berm incorporating some of the stone from the existing cenotaph, to give some protection from the elements to both the monuments and any participants in ceremonies there.
The project is planned in two phases, the first phase to be completed for Nov. 11 this year in time for the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean conflict. The second phase would then see the site completed by Armistice Day 2014, in time for the 100th anniversary of the onset of the First World War.
Mayor Bev Parnham thanked Hellberg for his presentation saying he did a, “good job explaining it. I like where you’re going with it.”
The project still has a way to go before breaking ground however, with public consultation sought and a full costing to be performed. In addition, the area’s drainage would also need some improvement during construction.
Council was in favour of the direction of the project but stopped short of committing entirely.
“I want to see the whole project,” Mayor Bev Parnham said. “We need to know what it is going to cost us.”
Hellberg remained confident that the project could be a success.
“We’re very positive we can do it,” he said. “The squadron has been successful in its other projects; this is just a bit bigger.”
The mayor congratulated Hellberg and the other representatives, and told them to proceed with the plan, with the council to evaluate it as it evolves.
“We’d like to see it proceed,” she said. “You’ve put a lot of hard work into it, congratulations.”