The decision to tear down the observatory structure in Fraser River Heritage Park is a costly one, according to Brian Antonson.
The president of the Mission Heritage Association (MHA), which organized the funding and construction of the building, said about $220,000 – composed of $140,000 in cash donations and another $80,000 in gifts-in-kind – had been spent on the project.
Cash donations included:
- $20,000 from Mission Morning Rotary;
- $20,000 from MHA;
- $100,000 from the B.C. government; and
- $2,000 from several smaller donations.
In-kind donations included volunteer time, free use of an excavator, and products or services such as plumbing and general contract work.
According to Antonson, the district provided about $6,000 worth of timber for the siding on the building and provided the rain skin material (worth $4,000) that goes under the siding.
“Our contractor estimated another $100,000 was required to complete the building construction,” said Antonson, adding that equipment expenditures for the observatory would max out at just over $200,000.
“Thus, we had fundraising plans to secure another $300,000 to complete,” he said.
With the project canceled and the building set to be torn down, those donations, both of time and money, are lost.
“I have a heavy heart with all this and feel especially bad for the people who actually volunteered to bruise their knuckles on a daily basis to create our observatory. Their blood and sweat is in this fine structure. So sad to see it come to this,” said Antonson.
However, Mission Mayor Randy Hawes said groups, such as Rotary, that made a donation to the project will be recognized.
The district plans to re-purpose much of the material used to build the observatory, and Hawes said whatever new project is built, “Rotary’s name will go on it.”
As for the provincial money, Hawes does not believe a refund will be needed.
“The provincial government has put money into lots of things and then not gone ahead with them.”
As for other donations, Hawes isn’t sure if any action will be, or needs to be, taken.