Monument funding approved for Bella Bella

Government announces funding for Shearwater monument project.

SHEARWATER—The federal government last week announced up to $50,000 for a new project in Shearwater, which recognizes the importance of the former Bella Bella Air Force Base, now known as the community of Shearwater, during the Second World War. The monument will honour all of the military force members involved in the war effort in the area.

The funding, provided through the Community War Memorial Program and announced by Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs Aug. 29, will support the construction of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Station Bella Bella War Memorial.

“Monuments and cenotaphs serve an important role in our remembrance, because they are permanent symbols of the pride and gratitude Canadians share for our nation’s truest heroes,” said Minister Fantino. “It is important that we erect sacred edifices such as the RCAF Station Bella Bella War Memorial, and in doing so, inspire a renewed sense of remembrance within the community. This is why our Government continues to provide support for the building of cenotaphs and monuments in communities across the country.”

The Denny Island Community Development Association erected an obelisk monument commemorating all service men and women involved in the war effort in the area. It is co-located with a totem pole which was erected to commemorate First Nation Veterans. Commemorative plaques and a storyboard were installed as well as a flagpole and an RCAF flag. The plaques commemorate the crash of ‘Canso 9789’ in 1943, which resulted in the loss of one airman, as well as the loss of the vessel ‘BC Star’, which departed Bella Bella on July 24, 1943, and disappeared in Hecate Strait with the loss of all 15 seamen on board. The names of the First Nation Veterans were added to a plaque installed at the base of the totem pole. The storyboard tells the history of the former base during the war.

The Community War Memorial Program allows the government to partner with community groups and local organizations to build new cenotaphs and monuments to commemorate the sacrifices of veterans and men and women in uniform.

Applications to the Community War Memorial Program can be submitted at any time during the year and are reviewed on a quarterly basis. Interested non-profit groups and other organizations may be eligible for funding to build new memorials or to make major additions to existing ones. For more information, please visit veterans.gc.ca.