A crew of workers have begun to take cement tiles off the deck of the observatory structure in Mission's Fraser River Heritage Park.

UPDATED: Deconstruction of Mission observatory has begun

Contractor has begun to dismantle building. It is expected to take several days to complete.

The dismantling of the observatory has begun.

On Friday morning, a work crew was taking cement tiles off of the observatory structure in Mission’s Fraser River Heritage Park.

Workers were seen  on the deck of the building  removing the tiles from the deck and stacking them in piles nearby. They also began to remove some of the railing and siding off the building.

When asked, one member of the crew said he expected it to take four days to dismantle.

Maureen Sinclair, head of the parks and recreation department for the District of Mission, confirmed that a contractor has been hired and is in the process of taking down the structure.

The proposed observatory has been the subject of a large public debate since the idea was first approved by the previous council in 2013.

Construction began in March 2014 but the project was halted after the current council decided not to renew the park management contract with the Mission Heritage Association.

Instead the district took over management of the park and construction of all remaining buildings on site, including the observatory.

A decision was then made to abandon the observatory project. The district said there were several code violations in the structures and safety concerns.

The association disagreed and the mostly public debate has been going on ever since.