Sandy Casselman
LJI Journalist

MORRISBURG – Municipality of South Dundas politicians are unanimously in support of the Iroquois Cenotaph Project.

During the township’s Jan. 18 council meeting, Stormont, Dundas, and South Glengarry MP Eric Duncan presented a written report along with a PowerPoint presentation outlining the South Dundas Cenotaph Modernization Project Committee’s plans for the village of Iroquois. MP Duncan said the group has an ambitious completion date of fall 2021, but should that not pan out, the committee is looking at spring 2022.

“I’m all for this project,” Coun. Lloyd Wells said. “I would love to see this go forward.”

The request to council included: approval of the project proposal and the conceptual design in principle; a $15,000 financial commitment; allowance for the committee to do banking through the municipality so as to save on HST costs and ensure donors receive income tax receipts; allowance for service clubs and large donors to pledge money over multiple years; and for South Dundas to be the lead applicant on the funding application to Veterans Affairs Canada’s Community War Memorial program.

“I think the project is outstanding,” said Coun. Don Lewis. “It’s well worth every penny.”

The Iroquois Cenotaph Project is the second such project to be undertaken by this committee with the first being the modernization of the Matilda Memorial located at Matilda Hall in Dixons Corners. While the Matilda project budget was estimated to be $60,000 at the outset, the Iroquois budget is projected to be between $100,000 and $115,000. Although the estimated cost includes in-kind work, MP Duncan noted that there are opportunities for more in-kind work to bring down the cost.

The report to council included a landscape plan, 3D video, and a proposal from Keith Ardron of Ardron Landscapes, as well as a quote from Kevin Allen of Eastern Ontario Cemetery Memorials.

The Iroquois project involves taking a monument and plaques from two separate sites and creating a new, more accessible memorial in one location. The proposed location is the north side of the Iroquois Civic Centre. The Iroquois Cenotaph currently located on Elizabeth Drive South, and the bronze plaques currently affixed to the north side of the Civic Centre building will be removed and refurbished before being installed at a new memorial on the north side of the Civic Centre. This will include the addition of pathways and lighting for better accessibility.

“This is something hopefully the residents will get behind,” Coun. Archie Mellan said, noting the need to show respect to area veterans and the Royal Canadian Legions. “By far, it’s one of the best projects we can do for Iroquois and the town.”

In its conclusion, the report, signed by MP Duncan, as well as Iroquois Branch Legion president Darlene Riddell, Iroquois-Matilda Lions Club member Jim Locke, South Dundas Coun. Archie Mellan, as well as South Dundas resident Cindy Peters, stated: “We believe these repairs, relocation/unification of the cenotaph and plaques, and the site enhancements at the new site in front of the Civic Centre will be well received by the community and be more visible to residents and visitors alike for decades to come.”

Mayor Steven Byvelds, who said he was quite impressed with the Dixons Corners’ project, and said “this makes a lot of sense,” and the financial ask is reasonable. Noting that all of council is behind the project, the mayor said it will be passed along to staff so things can move forward.

The project documents can be viewed in South Dundas’ Jan. 18 council agenda package. The 3D video of the proposed plan can be seen by watching the council meeting video.