A FUNDRAISING campaign has been launched to erect a life-size statue honouring the local troops of the famous Light Horse Brigade.
The Light Horse Memorial Committee approached Wagga City Council at Monday's meeting with a request for its support in the construction of a mounted trooper in the city's Victory Memorial Gardens.
Riverina and South West Slopes Light Horse Memorial Committee president Patrick Leary told councillors the memorial will cost between $170,000 and $240,000, which will be sourced through various fundraising streams in the hopes of building the tribute in the span of three years.
"We want to bring these guys home, we want everyone to know their stories because this is who we are and what we represent," he said.
"We will make it as authentic as we can."
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The councillors unanimously supported the memorial, but decided to contribute $50,000 towards the project in a motion led by Councillor Paul Funnell on the night. He said the tribute was "long overdue" and the council needs to explore more options to fast track the project.
Cr Funnell said the memorial ensures future generations will never forget the sacrifices made by others to protect the freedoms that the community enjoys today.
"These men died to give us the right to have an opinion and they gave us that freedom," he said. "This is the recognition of the ultimate human sacrifice."
Crs Dan Hayes and Kerry Pascoe echoed their hopes of creating a memorial where the city's residents can learn from and engage with in order to keep the stories alive in the years to come.
"I hope we don't shy away from allowing people to interact as they see fit .. I hope the committee thinks about how it can be not just a thing in the garden but something people can touch, feel and if some desire, even sit upon," Cr Hayes said.
While Cr Vanessa Keenan attempted to squash the council's $50,000 contribution, she said this should not be misinterpreted as her opposition to the project.
She said there are a range of avenues the committee could utilise to gain the finances required.
"I want to be clear that I am not against the project," she said.
"Sitting on the council's annual grants assessment panel there are some amazing project being funded, projects that change people's lives and I think this is a worthy project and I would encourage the committee to apply for the Riverina Water grant next year and the council's annual grants program. It's something the community will get right behind."
In the hope of reaching the target quickly, Cr Rod Kendall also encouraged the committee to consider the grants programs on offer.