Council has officially cancelled the observatory project at Fraser River Heritage Park. Public input will be sought on what to do with the building.

Council puts observatory rumours to rest

Mission staff will consult with public on what to do with partially constructed building.

There will not be an observatory built in Fraser River Heritage Park.

On Monday, Mission council quashed any rumours about the community project being revived by officially declaring that the observatory will not move forward.

According to a report, district staff requested clarification from council on the observatory after becoming “aware of some conversations regarding the possibility of continuing with planning and development of the observatory project.”

Coun. Danny Plecas said that the staff report on the observatory, issued in August, raised “some legitimate concerns.” He said there were some glaring issues that were not “properly calculated or thoroughly thought out.

“In essence the overall cost undertaking this project has been grossly underestimated and the revenue projections are overstated,” said Plecas, who added no consideration was given to the maintenance, security and volunteer training needed.

He also said a technical review raised concerns about the site of the project and its ability to provide optimum conditions for telescope use.

Coun. Jenny Stevens was the only councillor to vote against the motion.

“I originally believed that having our own observatory was a great concept. I think this outcome, frankly, is a little bit of a tragedy,” she said, adding the project would become a major drain on taxpayers.

However, she did not vote in favour of cancelling the project altogether, saying she was under the impression that council would seek public input on the future of the observatory.

“I was looking forward to a proper public consultation session where all the options were put forward with the snags, with the warnings on any of them. Because even knocking the building down is not free,” said Stevens.

Council did not agree and the building will be re-purposed in some way.

Staff will now seek public input on what to do with the former observatory building.