A new cenotaph in Douglas Park will be complete in time for Remembrance Day services next month, “because it has to be.”
Francis Cheung, CAO with the City of Langley, told council at its Oct. 3 meeting that even though the project, which will see a new war memorial constructed just west of the park’s Spirit Square stage, has hit a couple of snags, it must and will be ready on or before Thursday, Nov. 10, for the Legion to have the monument dedicated ahead of the Nov. 11 ceremony.
Last year’s service, held in front of the Langley Legion’s new home on 56 Avenue, drew 300 or 400 people, but because the sound and sight lines were so poor, a number of people left before the service was over.
“It was not what we all wanted. People couldn’t see, they couldn’t hear,” said Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender.
Fassbender is urging people to bring their kids, and for school groups and clubs to attend the service at the new cenotaph in Douglas Park.
“It’s a phenomenal way to celebrate our veterans,” he said.
The new site will be able “to easily accommodate 2,000 or 3,000 people. And they will be able to hear and to see and to feel like they’re a part of it,” he promised.
Since it was first put out to tender, the cost of the war memorial has risen by $73,500, coming in at a cost of $216,500 instead of the $143,000 estimate prepared by a landscape architect and presented at an open house last spring.
Among the issues affecting the price of the monument are changes to its design, including addition of several ornamental lights ($16,000) and the use of granite instead of concrete to create a more decorative effect, which raised the cost by $37,500.
In addition, the original design did not account for storm sewer and irrigation system relocation, at a cost of $7,500, or the inclusion of a five per cent contingency fund ($12,000).
The City has applied to Veterans Affairs for a $50,000 grant through its Community War Memorial program. Cheung is optimistic the bid will be successful, but the decision could take up to 12 weeks.
Council authorized an amendment to the City’s financial plan, allowing $73,500 to be transferred from its reserves to cover the difference, and to ensure construction will be complete in time — time the City doesn’t have if it’s going to complete the monument by Remembrance Day.