Saskatchewan may soon have a stone monument bearing the names of lives lost to impaired drivers if two fathers and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada get their wish.
Lou Van de Vorst and Allan Kerpan have joined with the anti-drunk-driving group to have a stone statue installed in a public place in Saskatoon.
“It’s a provincial memorial. It’s a memorial for all victims of impaired driving,” Van de Vorst said.
In January 2016, a drunk driving crash claimed his son, 34-year-old Jordan Van de Vorst and Jordan’s wife Chanda, 33. Their children, five-year-old Kamryn and two-year-old Miguire, also died.
Kerpan’s 25-year-old daughter, Danille, was killed while driving from Saskatoon to Davidson in October 2014.
The fathers want Saskatchewan to join a countrywide campaign paid for by MADD Canada, bringing monuments to Canadian provinces.
Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Manitoba already have MADD stone memorials, while monuments are pending in Prince Edward Island and Quebec, according to MADD Canada CEO Andrew Murie.
“There’s a lot of momentum on this. It’s going to be to the point where if a province doesn’t have one, they’re in the minority,” Murie said.
Saskatoon city staff initially offered Woodlawn Cemetery as a possible location to install the marker, but the project’s proponents are seeking greater visibility in an area with more foot traffic.
Coun. Randy Donauer is backing the idea to bring the tribute to a park, and plans to ask city administration to explore the possibility of installing it in a park in Saskatoon.
Wherever the memorial ends up, it will include names of previous impaired driving victims, accompanied by a blank space.
“Each year, you’re always adding names to the monument. Hopefully some day will come when we don’t,” Murie said.
Saskatchewan’s drunk driving charges in 2015 were nearly triple the national rate, according to Statistics Canada.