War memorial earns federal grant money

The Ministry of Veteran Affairs will provide upwards of $50,000 in funding for a war memorial project in Lantzville.

The Ministry of Veteran Affairs will provide upwards of $50,000 for a war memorial project in Lantzville.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 257 has been working on a plan for a cenotaph and memorial pathway at Huddlestone Park, with assistance from the District of Lantzville, and was approved for the federal government’s Community War Memorial program, which will match any amount raised up to $50,000.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $150,000.

As part of fundraising efforts, people can ppay to have names of Armed Forces veterans, RCMP officers and firefighters engraved on stone markers that will line the pathway leading to and circling the cenotaph, according to Jim McEwan, Branch 257 cenotaph fundraising committee chairman. The markers cost $300 each.

“They are being sold at this time now and people are embracing it quite well, as a matter of fact. It’s quite a popular item,” said McEwan, adding that the path will also provide easy access for people with mobility issues.

Jack de Jong, District of Lantzville mayor, said the project has been in the works for two years. The district donated the land and said it is important that donations be quantified as everything raised will be matched by the federal government.

“So if we give labour or anything of that nature, the federal government matches the funds, so we’ve kept the record and I think to date we’re close to $20,000 that the district has allocated to this in terms of land and in-kind donations to some extent,” de Jong said. He is optimistic that the rest of the money can be raised, as Lantzville is a generous community, he said.

Nanaimo-Alberni Member of Parliament James Lunney said he will be contributing some of his own money to the project.

“I’ll be taking one [memorial stone] for my own dad. I made a commitment to that today, and I hope residents of Lantzville and others that come from north Nanaimo will join in the fundraising effort to make sure this comes to pass so we have the best monument possible right here in Lantzville,” Lunney said.

Ewan estimates construction will begin in late-spring and with funding from the federal government could come money from its provincial counterpart.

“We’ve made an official application and they [provincial government] are considering it very seriously,” Ewan said.

The cenotaph and memorial path are expected to be completed by Remembrance Day 2014.