LETTER: Observatory is a ‘huge loss’

Councillor Stevens calls this move “a little bit of a tragedy.” That’s a little bit shy of accurate.

Re: The cancellation of the observatory project.

Councillor Stevens calls this move “a little bit of a tragedy.” That’s a little bit shy of accurate: it’s a huge loss to Mission, something that would have put us in the spotlight.

Council comments from day one have been misleading or inaccurate. Contrary to statements that appeared in the article, the whole concept was thoroughly researched, and recommendations and input from some leading astronomical people were incorporated. Our estimates were very close to our actuals as funds were expended to date, and we would have completed within our predicted $300,000, not the $1 million council came up with.

To say no consideration was given to maintenance, security and volunteer training is simply wrong: each was thoroughly considered and planned. Concerns about “optimum conditions for telescope use?” Sure – if we were planning a dark sky observatory in the backwoods, but we weren’t – we were planning a publicly accessible “popular astronomy” site, ideally situated to welcome large numbers of people excited to learn about the night sky.

Our field-trip-based business model and volunteer operation concept is used successfully by non-profits elsewhere, and was vetted by several professional people who confirmed we were on the right track.

So, shame on Mission’s short-sighted council for cancelling this project. Oh…and it’s interesting that the mayor declared “The Observatory project is dead” many weeks ago, long before council even voted on it.

But that appears to be the way Mission is being run these days. This is a sad time for our fair city, which badly needs the tourism infusion this project would have brought here, at no cost to Mission taxpayers at all.

 

Brian Antonson

Mission