Couns. Morgan Nagel and Alex Reed are jointly advocating for the town to honour veterans and lives lost in combat in a monumental way.
The pair is calling on council to name the Bow River bridge, that is to soon to begin being constructed, Veteran’s Bridge – with an accompanying plaque listing the names of late Cochranites whose lives were lost in combat.
Bridge construction begins this season and is slated for completion by 2020 and will connect the south side of Cochrane to downtown. The total price tag on the bridge and road realignment project is at $48 million.
“I think it’s important for us to honour our troops and it seems to be something most of Canada isn’t doing,” said Coun. Morgan Nagel, whose older brother, Cpl. Jordan Nagel, is a combat engineer stationed out of Edmonton.
Nagel said he feels the country, as a whole, lacks in its recognition of the sacrifices made by Canadian soldiers – that there is a focus on Canadian military as peacekeepers and helpers in natural disasters and less on lives lost.
Reed, who said he was struck by the emotion of the unveiling of the bronze statue of the soldier at the Cenotaph last fall, feels the initiative sends a message that Cochrane cares about its culture, about its history.
“It’s to build on the heritage in Cochrane – not just our western heritage. This is a good way to recognize those people who have made an impact on our lives,” said Reed.
Reed is hopeful that honouring veterans through bridge naming would influence the design and artistic elements that could be incorporated – in contrast to the public artwork he sees in Calgary, much of which he feels is cold and disconnected.
Mayor Jeff Genung is on board and views this as an opportunity to make it a landmark site for Cochrane.
“I think we have a real opportunity to make something special for Cochrane … the bridge is going to solve a lot of traffic problems, provide a secondary access for the south side of the river as well as a secondary emergency access.”
Coun. Tara McFadden said she would like to see the naming of the bridge put out for public input.