'It requires a worthy place': Site for Afghanistan memorial gets NCC pushback
National Capital Commission board members deferred on a vote designating land for the memorial, saying a site near the Canadian War Museum was the wrong choice.
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A memorial to those lost during Canada’s mission in Afghanistan could be without a home again, as NCC board members pushed back against a proposed site Tuesday.
Board members deferred on a vote to designate land on the Ottawa River just west of the Canadian War Museum for the project, after objections from the museum’s architect.
Kay Stanley was one of several board members who indicated they would be voting no on the project before they agreed to defer it on Tuesday.
Stanley said an Afghan memorial is important for Canada, which is why this site is the wrong choice.
“This is a worthy project and because it’s a worthy project it requires a worthy place.”
The project needs the NCC’s approval before it can move ahead with design and construction.
The deferral of the vote will give the NCC time to take another look at the project including the potential of designating Richmond Landing, a site just to the east of the Portage Bridge.
NCC CEO Mark Kristmanson said it will give them some time to take another look at the choices.
“I think sober second thought is a good move in this case,” he said. “We will endeavour to do that with a quick turnaround so we don’t delay this.”
Richmond Landing was previously selected as a site, but veterans groups felt it was out of the way and not being given appropriate space.
Kristmanson said there voice is still important.
“We must listen to the veterans' groups who need and want a memorial and connect with them.”
Raymond Moriyama, the war museum’s architect, said the mandate of the institution was always to educate and preserve information from all wars. He worried having one memorial on the grounds would single it out.
“This is one national museum representing the whole of Canada and the mandate is to educate, preserve and remember,” he said.
He said when the building was constructed there was a lot of consultation with Canadians who wanted memorials to be separate from the institution.
“I am not against the memorial. It’s just the location,” he said. “We have to maintain not only the integrity, but the honesty of what the war museum is designed to do.”