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Snowbird 8 Memorial Project delayed but not deserted

Despite setbacks in the timeline and funding, the Snowbird 8 Memorial Project is still hoping to cross the finish line.

Project Co-Chair Lloyd Sherk says delays originally halted the project due to the onset of COVID-19, but it wasn’t the only deciding factor.

“We weren’t able to raise as much money as we’d hoped at the time,” he says. “The Project is still ongoing, but as to when it’ll be at the airport, we really don’t know. It could be next year but it might even be the year after.”

Once established, the monument will be dedicated to Snowbird Pilot Gord De Jong, a member of the 1978 Snowbird team who was killed in a crash during an airshow on May 3, 1978 just north of the Grande Prairie airport.

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The City of Grande Prairie granted $15,000 to the project in May 2019 from the Public Arts Reserve. Sherk originally asked the city for $50,000, but that was decided to be too large of an investment.

The project team is still hanging onto the grant and intends to spend it once they know what the future of the project will look like. Ultimately, Sherk says, he’s looking to in total, raise roughly $150,000.

“We just don’t know what the future’s going to bring, whether we’re going to be able to raise that amount of money and we would like to be in a position that when we hold the event, the snowbirds could attend.”

“We really don’t know what their future looks like either,” he says.

Currently in the process of reevaluating how to raise the money, Sherk adds he’s looking into online options as well as how to potentially stoke the interest of the local community.

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