Mayor Ivan Brooker and council voted unanimously in favour of writing a cheque for $65,000 to the Cochrane Legion to kick-start a project in honour of fallen war heroes at the Feb. 13 council session.
This amount will foot a little more than half the bill to commission a life-sized bronze statue of a First World War soldier standing guard at the existing cenotaph on the corner of Main Street and Fifth Avenue West.
It was a “no brainer” as far as Coun. Jeff Toews was concerned.
Coun. Morgan Nagel is “putting his money where his mouth is” and will be donating the difference between his 2016 and 2017 councillor’s salary to the cause.
The project will begin next month, with the goal to unveil it before Remembrance Day 2017 – to honour Canada’s 150th birthday, as well as the 90th anniversary of the Cochrane Legion and the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
The total price tag is $120,000. Legion vice-president Dave Usherwood said he is confident there will be a number of businesses and individuals willing to cough up some considerable bucks needed to get the fundraising going.
Cochrane’s own Studio West Bronze Foundry and Art Gallery will create and design the piece – adding to its list of roughly 15 war memorials across the country by owners Don Begg and Shirley Stephens-Begg.
“I’ve always found the park is lacking,” said project brainchild, Cochranite Todd Puzey – who has long thought more needs to be done to beautify the centrally-located place of honour and keep pace with Cochrane’s growing Remembrance Day services.
Teaming up with Usherwood, Puzey and the legion secured the project to be designed and created by the Beggs at cost; a local contractor will also create the base for cost.
The town will take $53,000 from the Arts and Culture Endowment Fund and the remaining $12,000 from the parks levy; the amount of $53,000 is the interest of the existing $620,000 currently in the fund.
Any leftover funds would go toward an accompanying plaque to honour those who contributed to the project.
Further plans to beautify the cenotaph include landscaping and fencing.