The observatory structure in Mission's Fraser River Heritage Park was destroyed on Tuesday afternoon.

The observatory structure in Mission's Fraser River Heritage Park was destroyed on Tuesday afternoon.

Mission observatory destroyed: Antonson says ‘I feel sick’

The demolition began on Friday and by Tuesday afternoon, the structure was all but gone.

The observatory building is now completely destroyed.

A contracting crew began work on dismantling the building on Friday and by Tuesday afternoon, nothing remained except the foundation and telescope pier.

“I feel sick to my stomach, an emotional twist I’m not used to, and am thoroughly disgusted with our elected officials and everyone else who had a hand in this,” said Brian Antonson, president of the Mission Heritage Association, the group that began the observatory project.

Antonson said now that the building has been torn down, the opportunity to prove how well built it was is gone forever.

“Crafty move on the part of the district, now they never have to prove there actually was a leak,” he wrote in an email.

“I hope the voters of the District of Mission remember this debacle when the next election rolls around and turfs every one of the elected members from office,” he added.

Now that the building is gone, Antonson said he is not sure what will happen next.

“I know that none of the people who helped build the park – and the observatory – have any interest in contributing further to a community where something like this can happen.”

But he  said some members will continue to ask  awkward and specific questions, despite the fact some critics ask “Why go on?”

“The reason is very simple:  When bad decisions are made amidst the plethora of misinformation, rumours, and innuendo as those around the park and the observatory have, we must stand up for truth based on facts. It’s just that simple.”

“Once upon a time I was proud to tell people I live in Mission. That is no longer the case.”

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.

More to come.

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