EDITORIAL: Time to end the observatory drama

It’s time to move on. Council has decided to demolish the building and there is little, if any chance it will reconsider.

The ongoing dispute over the observatory structure in Heritage Park has gone on long enough. It’s time to end the drama before there is more collateral damage to community relationships.

At the beginning of the week it was made public that Habitat For Humanity, Upper Fraser Valley, was seeking volunteers to help collect reusable building material from the observatory, which Mission council voted to tear down after citing safety concerns, possible liabilities, a lack of building permits and the small size of the structure making it difficult to re-purpose.

The outcry from supporters of the observatory project and members of the Mission Heritage Association – the organization that spearheaded the observatory project, and until being removed by council at the beginning of this year, managed the park – was swift, severe and unfair.

The comment section of the Habitat website was filled with caustic criticism. Some said Habitat should be ashamed of itself, others threatened to boycott its fundraising store, while others suggested there would be nothing but bad publicity for the charitable group.

Because of the negative response, Habitat For Humanity has withdrawn from the deconstruction project and none of the building supplies will go toward their fundraising efforts.

That is a shame.

It’s time to move on. Council has decided to demolish the building and there is little, if any chance it will reconsider.

Observatory supporters threatened Habitat For Humanity leaders into changing their minds, to the detriment of whatever projects that would have benefited from the revenue derived from the building’s recycled materials.

That’s ironic, since these same supporters  have spent the past year saying they are victims of bullying tactics by Mayor Hawes and some members of council.

It’s unlikely that the building has been saved by this attack on Habitat For Humanity. All that has occurred is a bad situation has gotten worse, and a non-profit organization has been undeservedly tried and cudgelled by a minor court of over-reactive public opinion.