KAMLOOPS — Jeff Lodge has been collecting memorial plaques for years. His home is lined with pictures of local soldiers and their medals as he pay homage to the fallen heroes from Kamloops and area who were killed at war.
Their names are on the cenotaph, but Lodge and other members of the Kamloops Heritage Commission want their names on street signs as well, along with a poppy in remembrance.
"What I found is these guys are on the cenotaph. It's their name, [but] who are these people?" noted Lodge. "I went to the Legion, went to the museum, and there's never been a study. There's no records kept as such. So my goal is to identify them, gather pictures, and I want these people to get off the cenotaph and be part of the community again."
The heritage group has been working on this project for more than a year, speaking in front of city council and pushing for the new street signs.
A street like Clapperton on the North Shore, for instance, would get an updated sign for $162. The city isn't willing to pay for them, so Lodge has taken it upon himself to fundraise more than $8,000 for the signs.
"There's almost 300 people on our cenotaph and I went through our map and I discovered there are 52 streets that have the right name that could possibly work," he said. "So it was 52 streets times $162 a sign. That's how I came up with the $8,400. That would be a bare minimum, just to get each street with a sign on it. Now of that 52, not all of them are doable."
Lodge says the community involvement has been great, but he's still looking for more funds, hoping one day to have all 283 names from the cenotaph commemorated in street signs and street names around the city.
"I think we need to re-evaluate the street-naming policy. There is some provisions there for historical things," said Lodge. "Guelph, Ontario, they actually have an aggressive policy where 75 per cent from the cenotaph are incorporated into streets. Part of that is also historical figures. I don't necessarily see just the guys that died in the war having a street because there's all kinds of historical figures in Kamloops that don't have a street named after them. Peter Wing doesn't have a street, Phil Gaglardi doesn't have a street, all kinds of people."
The Kamloops Heritage Commission hopes to have the first street sign ready and installed by Remembrance Day.
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