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Wall report for the AGM – August 2009

To begin I wish to sincerely thank Derrill Henderson, Barry Mitchell, Phil Doddridge, Murray Doull and Ron McGuire for being on the Wall Committee. It has been a challenging time with several issues that have caused anxious moments but there was always the belief that we could work it through.

Second I wish to sincerely thank all of the contributors to the project ・ financially and those with expertise. We were blest to have found some wonderful people who have worked extremely hard to assist in the reality of the Wall.

Lauren Heinrichs, (granddaughter of Ferd Poitras, WG, HK veteran) is an award winning graphics expert who was charged with taking all the names and making them fit on the Wall to determine the size that was required. It sounds simple enough until you realize the complexity of graphics. She also assisted with the development of the colour Honour Rolls for the WG and HQ units.

Jim Lennox who is doing the landscape architectural work pro bono - he has a sympathetic interest in the HK history, his father was on the Uganda and his mom nursed many of the HK vets on their return in 1945. He told me it was about time this memorial was done and we agree.

Rick Cunliffe is the structural engineer who had the task of designing the foundation for the wall. This was particularly challenging with lack of information we had about the site. However with several revisions and lots of extra money, it was done.

Randy Wing is an HKVCA member who has the expertise to coordinate the project and manoeuvre through the machinations of the National Capitol Commission (NCC) and the suppliers ・ the answer to my prayers.

Through the last couple of years with meetings, site visits, etc Derrill and Ron have been my eyes and ears in Ottawa and I am grateful for their information ・ this was over and above working on the Convention. Phil is our veteran liaison to ensure we stayed on the right track with the project and to help with interviews from the media. All of the Committee have been involved with fundraising as well as Mike Babin with his efforts with the Hong Kong Economic Trade Organization in coordinating the fundraising concert. We are truly grateful to the members that have assisted with solicitations through letters and emails and with suggestions of companies, foundations, etc to approach for funding. It・s been a long haul and we are not done yet.

Of the 5 sites that we were offered by the NCC, we chose the one where we thought we had the best exposure for visitors and tourists to promote the story of the Battle of Hong Kong and the forgotten Canadians who served there. As a result our Wall design had to change to become more ・dynamic, innovative, vibrant・ to suit this prestigious site. There were many revisions to the design, which challenged the timeline for our project and added to the expense.

When we were finally putting in the foundation; there were difficulties with the land, which again caused delays, added expenses to redesign and construction. Randy was able to keep the team focused and moving through these issues.

With the granite we had several reviews with the layout, text, etc delays in turnaround of revisions, key people on vacation; that the schedule got behind. This caused more expense, as a subcontractor was needed to meet our deadline. Polycor have done a great job with trying to keep to this tight schedule ・ unfortunately the mountains will have to be engraved after the ceremony; Meyknecht-Lischer managed to get the foundation completed with additional issues with the soil conditions and laid the pavers to make the site suitable for the event and Steve Bensik who was our site supervisor to ensure the right people were there doing their job.

So as I am writing this ahead of time it is my wish that the project has been done and that it meets our memberships expectations.

We now face the next challenge of gathering funds to complete the landscape, the perpetuity fund and return the loans made by the Regions to do the foundation. We have applied to several foundations, legions, ANAVETs and corporations however our biggest contributors have been our members and we are truly grateful. We ask that you continue to seek donors with the information that we can supply you with or by giving us the names and we make the contact. It usually is more effective with the known contact but we are open to suggestions.

In closing I wish to tell you how honoured I feel for being able to chair this committee and work with many dedicated people to complete this project for our ・C・ Force ・ I am sure there are many smiles on the veterans who are able to attend, those who will see the pictures after the event and those from above.

Bless you all and take care.

Carol Hadley