Premier Kathy Dunderdale sits at the premier's desk in Confederation Building. — File photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram
A Beaumont-Hamel Interpretation Centre for Bowring Park and opportunities to develop Fort Townsend’s ruins are among military heritage initiatives being pursued by the provincial government.
The projects were in the Progressive Conservative’s provincial election platform. A month has passed since the vote and things are proceeding.
“All of it is ongoing in one way or another,” Premier Kathy Dunderdale told The Telegram this week.
The other initiatives include a committee on honouring veterans, events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, a bronze caribou memorial at Gallipoli, expanded educational travel opportunities to significant sites for students, and a new curriculum celebrating the contributions of Newfoundland and Labradorians who have served.
Much the Tory plan stems from Dunderdale’s trek to France and Belgium this past summer.
The trip saw her at Beaumont-Hamel for Memorial Day ceremonies July 1.
She also stopped at many cemeteries where soldiers from the Royal Newfoundland Regiment are buried, and she noted being struck by the nightly remembrance ceremony in Menen, Belgium.
Dunderdale said she always appreciated the sacrifices of veterans, but the journey brought it home to her in a different way.
“I can honestly say that that experience has stayed with me every day since then.”
She said she feels strongly about acknowledging the contribution of soldiers and to making sure people understand it.
Dunderdale said different departments are pursuing various initiatives and preparing to make budget submissions to get funding.
Lt.-Col. Alex Brennan, commander of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, declined to comment on specific government policy, but he said he welcomes any initiative that helps reflect on the province’s military sacrifices and tradition.
“If the government sees fit recognize that, we’re absolutely delighted and proud that other people are sharing in the pride that we have in the military,” he said.