Light Armoured Vehicles to serve as memorials
Waterloo Region - Two of Waterloo Region’s three cities may soon have monuments to honour area soldiers who served in Afghanistan in recent years. Most military monuments in the region are more than 70 years old and not relevant to this generation.
Cambridge and Kitchener municipal Councils have each voted to install a Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) and accompanying commemorative plaque in a public location within their community.
The LAV’s, used to carry and support Canadian troops fighting in Afghanistan, have been returned to Canada and decommissioned. The Government of Canada has partnered with General Dynamics Land Systems Canada to make 250 of them available to qualifying communities across Canada in the coming months.
Each weighs 13.7 tonnes and measures 6.98 m long, 2.71m wide and 2.81 m tall. They will rest upon a cement pad. Classified components including engines, electronics and weapons have been removed. Entry hatches are welded shut for added safety.
Brian Rainville, Honorary Colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada (RHFC), Waterloo Region’s reserve infantry regiment, is coordinating the region-wide project.
Communities whose applications are accepted will be offered a LAV at no cost. Transportation, site preparation and installation costs are their responsibility.
Each of the two cities agreed to provide up to $10,000 toward installation, site location and ongoing maintenance of their monument.
Additional costs for transportation, site preparation, installation and commemorative plaques for both monuments are estimated at $40,000.
Col Rainville said his committee hopes to raise this amount through a public fundraising campaign to be conducted from September through December.
Several companies in the transportation and construction industries have offered to donate some services for the project, he said.
Donations of any amount are welcome. Donors of $100 or more will receive a commemorative coin and tax receipt.
Contributions should be payable to the RHFC Regimental Trust. Any funds collected beyond the amount needed will be allocated to charities dedicated to support the needs of soldiers and their families.