Carbonear Legion working on solution for memorial banners

By Mark Squibb/May 26, 2022

Driving through downtown Carbonear, you may wonder what happened to the commemorative banners that once lined the telephone poles on Water Street.

Berkley Lawrence, chairman of the Dominion Command Poppy and Remembrance Committee and member of Legion Branch 23 Carbonear, said the program, which started in 2017, was successful, but unfortunately the annual costs to keep the banners up became overwhelming.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had a lot of problems with them,” said Lawrence. “We had put them facing the street so people could see them, and delivery trucks were backing into them and breaking them off. That was our first year, so we learned what poles to put them on and which poles not to put them on. Then the wind took over and broke off a lot of our brackets that we used to affix them to the telephone poles. So, that was another learning curve, and every year it cost us $600 or $700 to replace those brackets that were broken due to wind damage. And then two years ago we had a little bit of an accident. A bottom bracket broke off and fell onto a lady’s car and put a dent in her hood, so we ended up having to pay $1,200 to have her car repaired. So, because of the annual cost to replace the brackets and because of the unexpected accident, we decided that we couldn’t afford to put them back up on the telephone poles around town.”

Lawrence said the Legion has received plenty of inquires as to why the banners are no longer being flown, and he wants the public to know a number of alternatives are being considered. One idea is to hang the banners from the chain-link fence behind the Legion building, although Lawrence said he isn’t sure the fence could handle the banners.

Another idea would be to place them, with the Town’s assistance, around the War Memorial on Water Street, coinciding with construction work the Town is planning to undertake later this summer.

The Legion hopes to meet with the Town about their next upgrades to Water Street, which will encompass the area near the cenotaph.

“We’re waiting to hear back from the Town, and we’re hoping that’s going to happen very shortly because work is going to start in June or July,” said Lawrence. “But I will say, we will have some, probably not all, but we will have as many as we can displayed on the fence behind the Legion for the first of July… So, we are exploring options, but as of now we haven’t found a viable one for displaying the banners. It’s not that we don’t want to put them up, it’s just that it’s not fiscally responsible to put them up on the poles around town.”

The banners are purchased by family members at a one-time cost of $130, and Lawrence says approximately 80 banners have been purchased since the program’s inception in 2017.

Carbonear Branch 23 was the first in the province to try the banners, and the Brigus and Harbour Grace Legions have since started hoisting their own memorial banners.

Those Legions, said Berkley, have been experiencing similar issues.

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