by Tristan Turner
The Town of Morinville will be receiving a LAV (Light Armoured Vehicle) monument in the community, complete with a real formerly in service LAV III, commemorative signage and general park equipment. The monument came out of a recent national initiative by the Department of Defence and Canada Company who decided to sell – at minimal cost – retired LAV III vehicles following their deployment during the Canadian mission in Afghanistan.
The monument will cost approximately $51,350 to transport, install and properly landscape with park equipment. This figure may decrease if the national program receives corporate sponsorship, however. Currently, Town Administration hopes to cover these costs through fundraising in the community.
The monument ultimately would not be possible without the championing of community member and veteran Jason Wood, who originally bought this to the attention of Town Council and worked to complete the application process for the Town with the support of Council. Though he never served in Afghanistan personally, he believes strongly in creating a memorial specifically to remember the service and sacrifice of our soldiers in the Afghanistan conflict.
“I think this is something the whole community can rally behind,” Wood said, going on to thank the Town and specifically David Schaefer, director of Enforcement and Community Services, for his work on the project.
Morinville has many active service members, veterans and military families – nearly a third of the Town according to a guess by Town Administration – due to its distance from CFB Edmonton.
“I think this project is only going to improve the relationship between the Town and its service people,” Wood said.
Council all offered their support for the project, but some had a couple of questions after the presentation was complete. Councilor Boutestein stated that she supported the project “In theory” but was concerned about the Town having to provide funding for the project if adequate donors were not found in time.
Schaefer assured Council that this would not be a problem, commenting that the project can be cancelled and refunded later on if it appears the Town will be incapable of raising enough money to support the project.
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But Wood is expecting ample support for the initiative.
“I think the business community will have no problem [raising money for the project],” he said, adding the community previously rallied in raising money in the past for projects like the church steeple.
Schaefer confirmed that if the Town raises more money than needed for the project, they’ll look to including extra signage, including potential monuments to fallen soldiers from the region.
Wood shared that he’s already been told by businesses in the community to “go big or go home” and that they have a great deal of opportunities to raise money for extras on the monument site.
If funding is secured, the LAV III could arrive as early as this summer. It is to be located at the east entrance to Town by the pump house.