Left to right: Rotarian John Bowers

Observatory construction now underway

Mission facility will have a prime telescope as well as a solar unit

Seven gold-plated shovels hit the grass Saturday (March 8) to break ground for Mission’s new observatory at Fraser River Heritage Park.

About 90 people attended the ceremony to officially launch the project, said Fraser Valley Astronomers Society (FVAS) member Brian Antonson.

Mayor Ted Adlem, MLAs Marc Dalton and Simon Gibson, Mission Rotary Club’s John Bowers, FVAS president Paul Greenhalgh, and Mission Heritage Association’s Klaus Werner spoke briefly about the project, and several FVAS members set up their own telescopes to give the participants a preview of what’s to come.

The Rotary Observatory and Space Science Centre will be located at the southwest corner of the park.

About $140,000 has been raised to construct the 2,100-square-foot building, but more funds are needed to equip the centre, said Antonson.

The facility will have a prime telescope at least 20 inches in diameter, and numerous smaller telescopes, as well as a solar unit for daytime use.

An opening date has not been determined as fundraising efforts are still continuing. If you would like more information about the observatory, or to make a donation, call the park office at 604-826-0277.