Lt.-Col. Christopher Barr, commanding officer of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, speaks during a ceremony honouring the 80th anniversary of the Second World War Italian Campaign at the Veterans Memorial Gardens & Interpretive Centre in Grande Prairie, Alta. on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. A ceremony was held on Saturday which included the Loyal Edmonton Regiment and a dinner later in the evening. The interpretive centre also had military vehicles on display over the weekend. (Photo by Jesse Boily)Jesse Boily

The Canadian Forces are looking at Grande Prairie to expand its reserve members, which could result in the return of Loyal Edmonton Regiment’s Delta Company. 

The Forces are looking to northern communities as it works to build its membership.

“I’d like to drop the hint that we are taking serious initiative right now about rebuilding Delta Company here in Grande Prairie in the coming years,” Lt.-Col. Christopher Barr, commanding officer of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, at an event earlier in the month. 

“The Canadian Army is looking at rebuilding and expanding, as it comes to the primary reserves.

“We’ve been told to also rebuild our numbers but also look to other communities to build reserve units in, and Grande Prairie as well as Fort McMurray are two obvious examples of large communities in Alberta that do not have a primary reserve regiment.”

Marie Renee Charbonneau, executive director of Canadian Motorcycle Tourism, which operates Veterans Memorial Gardens & Interpretive Centre, said this announcement is one she’s wanted for a long time. 

“It’s wonderful to have a legion, and the Army, Navy & Air Force Veterans in Canada (ANAVETS) does its best to stay connected in the community, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing like having a bunch of serving soldiers.”

Charbonneau said the opportunities of having a base here in Grande Prairie could create more jobs and infrastructure, see vacant buildings rented and also help support the region’s cadet programs.

“I’ve been hoping for this announcement for quite some time; when we did our initial ceremony in 2017 when we unveiled the Afghanistan War Memorial, there had been discussion at that point in time,” she said.

She believes management changes may have delayed some decision-making to bring a reserves base to the region. 

“We have some of the strongest cadet corps in the entire province right here,” said Charbonneau.

She noted cadets produce community-minded young people, and having the reserves here would allow them to continue in a military career while still being active in our community. 

Grande Prairie’s Delta Squadron operated from 1939 to 1967.

Town & Country News reached out to the Canadian Forces for additional information but did not receive a reply before publication time. 

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Oct 05, 2023 at 11:36

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta

Comments are Welcome - Use the 'Join the Discussion' above any replies, or 'TheRegional / Chat' below replies. Both links take you to the same place. You will be asked to become a registered user if you are not one already - Posts are moderated