Donations for new Central Saanich cenotaph top $50,000

A new veterans’ cenotaph proposed for Central Saanich is getting closer to reality.

Ed Widenmaier kneels beside the existing small cenotaph outside of the Central Saanich Municipal Hall.

The new veterans’ cenotaph proposed for Central Saanich is getting closer to reality, with donations slowly coming in and the design details revealed this week by Central Saanich council.

Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor said council favours a spot next to Alexander Field by the main part of the Hovey Road parking area within Centennial Park. He added, however that  no final choice has been made.

He said the final location will be based on the design.

Central Saanich resident and one of the key players in making sure the community gets a new and improved cenotaph is Ed Widenmaier. He has been visiting different associations and clubs, explaining the project and asking for donations.

As of last week, Widenmaier said the effort has reached around $50,000-plus in donations towards the new structure.

“Every time I go to a meeting somewhere with one of the associations I belong to, we get some more support that way,” he said.

At the regular council meeting on Nov. 2, council voted to apply for a federal grant for the project. If successful, that grant would require the cenotaph to be completed by March 31, 2016.

Council had hired Rusnak Gallant Ltd. to design the proposed cenotaph. Design details were revealed last night at the regular Central Saanich council meeting (after the PNR’s deadline for this edition).

Widenmaier said the overall concept for the structure is a bronze statue, half serviceman, half farmer, as Central Saanich is very much a farming community.

He added his job will also be to make sure the new design conforms with basic rules and regulations for Remembrance Day ceremonies.

“You’ve got to have something with a little bit of vision in it because … it’s not for me or for us, it’s for the youth of tomorrow,” he said. “And I’m glad we’ve got that spot at Centennial Park here because it’s the youth that will see it every day. They’re the ones that are going to have to inherit this.”

Some of the associations Widenmaier is a part of include the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association, Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry Association, the Queen’s Own Rifles Association and others.