Plans will move ahead for a memorial at Kamloops Airport in honour of Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey, who died last month after the jet plane she was travelling in crashed in a Brocklehurst neighbourhood. On Tuesday, Kamloops city council voted unanimously for staff to liaise with Casey’s family and the Royal Canadian Air Force to explore options for a permanent memorial in a new park at the end of a runway.
“There is an opportunity with the new observation park that’s going to be created as part of the Tranquille gateway project, at the conclusion of the Kinder Morgan line crossing the Thompson River at that location,” Mayor Ken Christian said. “That’s a site actually where people naturally congregate to observe takeoff and landings from Fulton Field.”
On May 17, Casey was killed and Capt. Richard MacDougall was injured, when their Tutor 414 jet crashed shortly after takeoff. The Snowbirds were in Kamloops on a cross-country tour to inspire hope during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An outpouring of support from within the community and across Canada came immediately after the crash, including from Brocklehurst residents, many of whom witnessed the crash. A Change.org petition calling for the renaming of Airport Road to Capt. J. Casey Memorial Way was also launched and garnered more than 45,000 online signatures.
The mayor said it is important to take the lead on any memorial initiative from Casey’s family.
“That’s really what’s paramount here,” he said. “We would look for something both artistic, tasteful and respectful. That would be the initiative.”