Flowers hang on the fence at the Cougar Helicopter landing pad in St. John's the day before the first anniversary of the crash of Cougar Flight 491 on March 12, 2009. - Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
The loss of 23 people to two helicopter tragedies will be the focus of a memorial to be built in St. John’s by February 2014.
What has often been referred to as the “Cougar memorial” will in fact, according to a call for interest issued today, be a memorial focused on the loss of six people in the crash of a Universal helicopter flight in 1985 as well as 17 people lost in the crash of Cougar Flight 491 in March 2009.
According to the call, the exact location for the new memorial has yet to be selected.
In March, The Telegram reported the frustration being felt by some family members of those who died in the Cougar crash, with the more than four years it has taken to get the memorial built.
Harold Mullowney, who lost his brother Derrick Mullowney and Danny Breen, who lost his brother Peter Breen, spoke about the issue. They said the government had undertaken consultations with the families, but added there was generally agreement the memorial needs to be both visible and accessible.
"We've got to take this information and bring it to the next level," Mullowney said at that time.
In the 2011 provincial budget, $400,000 was earmarked for the Cougar Flight 491 monument.
Minister of Municipal Affairs Kevin O’Brien had said work was advanced with a consultation report.
The call for the memorial states $330,000 will be available for the final build.
The selection process for the memorial’s design will come in two steps, according to the terms of reference, posted at: heritagefoundation.ca.
The current call closes July 2 and responses will be whittled down to a shortlist of three, select individuals or teams. The shortlisted people or teams will then each receive a $1,500 honorarium to develop a concept for the memorial.
There is no guarantee any of their final design concepts will be accepted by government as presented in the end.
However, it is expected the submissions will result in a contract to complete final design and construction of the memorial.