Janet Chalmers (left) president of the Rotary Club of Mission (Sunrise) and Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton (right) are both saddened by the observatory outcome.

Janet Chalmers (left) president of the Rotary Club of Mission (Sunrise) and Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton (right) are both saddened by the observatory outcome.

OBSERVATORY: Donors are disappointed

Rotary Club members gave $20,000 to observatory, provincial government gave $100,000.

Mission Rotarians are upset and disappointed that the observatory building, which they donated $20,000 towards, is about to be taken down.

In July 2015, after learning that council had decided not to move forward with the observatory project, Louise Lacerte, past president of the Rotary Club of Mission (Sunrise), spoke to council and asked for their money back.

In December 2015, current president Janet Chalmers also spoke to council, pushing for consultation on the fate of the building.

At that time, she told council if they were not going to build the observatory and they were going to re-purpose the building, Rotary would like to have input on that decision.

Since then the vote has been taken and the building won’t be re-purposed. It’s going to be torn down.

Chalmers said she’s still waiting for the consultation she asked for, adding the only chance for any input was an open house to which the entire public was invited.

She also noted that some of the siding on the observatory has already been taken down and re-used on the new expansion of the Blackberry Kitchen.

“We never raised money to put into the Blackberry Kitchen. And if they are going to use it to fix up the Clayburn Building, well, that’s not what we raised money for either,” she said.

Chalmers said many of her club’s donors are still upset.

“I have people who want to do protests and all of that. I say fine, go ahead and do whatever you want, you’re a member of the public.”

Council has indicated that if the material re-purposed from the observatory is used for a future project, they would be happy to put Rotary’s name on the site.

Chalmers said the group would be willing to consider that.

“If we are going to put our name on it, we would like to see it be a benefit to the community.”

As for a refund, Chalmers said the money was donated to the Mission Heritage Association to help build the structure. Now that the city has taken over control of Fraser River Heritage Park, she doesn’t think it’s likely.

“I don’t think the city is going to be cutting us a cheque anytime soon.”

Other donations have also been accepted and spent on the project.

In April 2013, Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton presented the Mission Heritage Association with a $100,000 grant from the provincial government to get the project underway.

With the building set to be taken down, that money is essentially lost.

Dalton said it’s sad that the observatory won’t be completed, but it does happen, especially when there is a change in government.

“When you have an election and you have a big change, as it was in the last election, at whatever level, then quite often projects can be scrapped,” he said.

Dalton said obviously had he known it would not be completed, he wouldn’t have pushed for the funding.

“Nobody likes to see wasted dollars.”

He added that the observatory had the support of the previous council but an election brings “a change of perspective.”

He also heard costs did climb more than originally anticipated and the observatory wasn’t the only park structure with which there have been issues.

“You’ve got some quality people, experienced people, on council. They’ve been looking at the numbers, they’ve been looking at everything and so, I’m sad about it, but at the same time I defer to their judgment.”


Just Posted

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

Emergency services were on the scene of an apparent stabbing Friday afternoon (June 11) in the 2400 block of Countess Street in Abbotsford. (Photo: Kaytlin Harrison)
Two suspects arrested after apparent stabbing in Abbotsford

Incident occurs Friday afternoon in 2400 block of Countess Street

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada. (ADOBE STOCK IMAGE)
Shining a light on brain injury in Canada

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read