A proposed memorial for victims of impaired driving in a Saskatoon park would honour the people who have died and raise public awareness to prevent more deaths, city council heard.

Council gave unanimous backing Wednesday to studying the idea of placing a memorial in a public park.

The chief executive officer of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and two fathers of people killed in high-profile impaired driving collisions addressed council on the proposal.

The speakers said a public park is a preferred location to help raise public awareness. They identified the north end of Kiwanis Memorial Park between the Delta Bessborough Hotel and 24th Street as an ideal location.

“I don’t want another memorial in a cemetery,” Lou Van de Vorst said. “I’ve got one.”

Van de Vorst’s son Jordan, daughter-in-law Chanda, granddaughter Kamryn, five, and grandson Miguire, two, were killed by a drunk driver in Saskatoon in January 2016. The tragedy sparked a provincewide effort to reduce impaired driving.

“I think it was typical of most people who think it could not happen to them,” Van de Vorst said. “That’s why we’re here today. We’ve got to put a human face to these statistics.”

Lou Van de Vorst and Allan Kerpan spoke to Saskatoon city council July 26 to gain support for a memorial in a park for victims of drunk driving in Saskatchewan.

MADD Canada CEO Andrew Murie said his organization is willing to pay for building and maintaining the monument. One of several being planned in Canada, it would feature a large stone monolith inscribed with the names of people killed by impaired drivers. Room would be left so names could be added.

All victims of impaired driving in Saskatchewan that can be confirmed by a third party would be included, Murie said.

“In order for this monument to be effective, it needs to be seen by the public,” Allan Kerpan said. Kerpan’s 25-year-old daughter Danille was killed by a drunk driver going the wrong way on a highway in 2014.

Mayor Charlie Clark said the memorial will require a reconsideration of the criteria used for public monuments, noting such monuments tend to honour soldiers killed in combat.

“There are many, many things we could have memorials for in the community,” Clark said.

Coun. Darren Hill said the important distinction for him is that impaired driving deaths are preventable.

On average, impaired driving was involved in 58 fatalities per year in Saskatchewan from 2011 to 2015. Over the same time period, an average of 616 injuries per year were also linked to impaired driving.

Source: The Star Phoenix


Last updated on: 2017-08-31 | Link to this post