Grande Prairie Royal Canadian Legion #54 President Brad Lewis holds a banner he hopes will fly along Veterans Way (101 Ave) in the future in Grande Prairie, Alta. on Monday, July 31, 2023. The legion requested the city giver permission to fly regiment flags during the summer and banners featuring veterans around Remembrance Day. (Photo by Jesse Boily)Jesse Boily

Grande Prairie Royal Canadian Legion #54 President Brad Lewis hopes to see the downtown beautification efforts continue outside the legion.

Lewis also proposed hanging veterans’ banners along Veterans Way (101 Ave.) from late September to the end of November as well as unit flags installed along the street from April through to September.

“The unit flags are a symbol that most veterans have served under at one time or another,” said Lewis.

“Some of the fallen veterans from First World War, Second World War; they’re slowly being forgotten, and that’s a shame, so we want to change that.

“We want somebody to walk down Veterans Way looking at these flags and say, ‘Hey, Grandpa, he served under that flag.’”

He noted many veterans take pride in the flags they served under.

Banners around Remembrance Day would share an image and name of veterans who have served.

City council directed administration to bring back a report on potential options for the legion’s request.

Lewis noted the legion would store and care for the banners and flags while also purchasing them; the request to the city would be to install them.

The legion currently has two banners of local veterans which hang inside the legion. It hopes to see more banners purchased to honour local veterans.

Legion member Gary Webster said banners and flags would enhance the street and remind people why it’s called Veterans Way.

“The reason we named 101 Avenue Veterans Way (was) to bring more attention to veterans,” he said.

“I think it would honour the veterans that we have and also people that we come from other towns and other parts of Alberta or wherever, and say, ‘Hey, I served under that flag.’”

Lewis said its important the community can see the number of veterans who have served in the area.

Sidewalk upgrades

Lewis noted the sidewalk outside of the legion is in disrepair and would like to see it looking similar to the sidewalk just west near the Farmers Market.

“If we could match that end, I think that and the light poles and stuff like that would be enough to really spark that area,” said Lewis.

He noted the sidewalk sags and is lifting in some spots.

The legion has spent nearly $1.5 million in renovations since 2020, which include upgrading its electrical system, kitchen, bar, bathrooms, and basement, which is being turned into a teen centre called the Bunker.

Mayor Jackie Clayton said the sidewalk repairs compared to the flags and banners are different requests in scope.

Coun. Dylan Bressey noted “the downtown rehabilitation was not about streetscape and sidewalks it was more of a focus on working on underground pipes that needed immediate works so that emergency work wouldn’t need to be done in the winter if an issue did happen.

“While we were doing that, you may as well make the sidewalks really spectacular.”

The mayor noted that six phases of the downtown plan remain which do not currently have capital funding, but believes the legion’s sidewalk would be within one of the phases.

Town & Country News did not receive a response from the city before press time about the sidewalk repairs.

The portion of the street in front of the legion on 101 Ave. between 102 St. and 98 St. was named Veterans Way in August 2018.

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 17, 2023

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

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