PORT McNEILL—Council approved in principal a request by Royal Canadian Legion Branch 281 to replace the town’s aging cenotaph, contingent on engineering approval.
John Beddows, who serves as sergeant-at-arms for the branch during its Remembrance Day ceremonies, led a three-member delegation that shared diagrams and a proposal for a 16-foot cenotaph that would dwarf the current structure on the triangular corner lot between Campbell Way and McNeill Road
But there are concerns over the ability of the land to support the seven-foot square concrete base that would bear the cenotaph. Mayor Gerry Furney said the land was originally a low valley that was filled in large part with stumps and organic fill before being seeded as a grassy park. The town’s water main also runs under a portion of the property.
Council wanted assurances an engineering study would allow for the new construction before approving a motion, but the legion needed council’s approval in order to apply for grants that would fund the project, leaving the parties in a bit of a Catch-22.
“Our ambition is to go full-gear, right now, once the town gives permission,” said Grant Anderson, who doubles as Legion Branch 281 president and Port McNeill councillor. “But before we proceed, we need to know whether we can use the land.”
Council finally agreed on the contingent approval, allowing the Legion to proceed with funding requests and a structural study of the property, but reserving final construction approval.
If the work is eventually approved and construction completed, it would actually result in two civic improvement projects.
The existing cenotaph would not be demolished, but would be moved intact to the Legion Hall on Mine Road to become the centerpiece of a new garden and lawn display in front of the hall.
Meanwhile, the new cenotaph construction would be accompanied by grounds improvements that would provide a level parade ground for Remembrance Day participants, who currently must stand on steeply sloped ground for the duration of the ceremony.
“When you’re standing on a seven-degree grade for an hour, with one leg lower than the other, it’s not the ideal situation,” said Beddows.
Borrowing bylaws OK’d
Council approved first, second and third readings for a pair of bylaws that will allow the Town to borrow operating capital against project revenues.
Pending final approval, Bylaw No. 646, 2013 will authorize the Town to borrow from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce an amount not to exceed $600,000.
Bylaw No. 647, 2013 would allow the loan of an additional maximum of $1.3 million from the Municipal Finance Authority. The total allowable authorization of $1.9 million represents 75 per cent of the taxes levied for all purposes in 2014.
Help for ‘Trackshoes’
Council approved $200 each for up to three local participants in the annual Operations Trackshoes games and festival in 2014.