Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sorry... the waterfront is already spoken for...

I agree with one thing the author of the following letter says and that is that the old Dominion Building is not a logical site for a new museum
but I don't necessarily agree that Stratford is the best location either as it's not close enough to our University, schools and tourists alike ..... and besides the Stratford Waterfront is already destined as the New Downtown Disney and if you don't believe me just ask the Mayor and Council who spent $200,000.00 having all the pictures drawn up... and on top of that there is a major condo development being built on whatever land is not being used for new Downtown structures... so I guess Mr. Kelly is just out of luck as all the land is spoken for but just maybe the Town could apply to the Feds for an infrastructure grant to “infill” some of the Hillsborough Heritage River to make way for a museum... and why not a Racino too as Summerside just got one…
Stratford waterfront a perfect site for provincial museum
Letters to the Editor, The Guardian, 28/1/09
I have read with interest your recent articles and letters regarding a site for a provincial heritage museum. I must say that I am in agreement that a museum must interpret the story of P.E.I. by showcasing both our natural and human heritage. If a museum is to accomplish these goals, and draw Islanders and tourists alike, refurbishing an old, surplus building would not be the way to proceed. The old Dominion Building in Charlottetown was an office building, and would be a poor fit for a museum.
While no expert, I do think that a purpose-built building would be required given the strict environmental controls needed for an artifactory and provincial archives. I am quite sure that among the goals the province might have for investing in a provincial museum, finding a use for surplus office buildings is not among them. A retrofit building would be hard pressed to provide the necessary archival standard for conservation and preservation. In Harry Baglole's letter on Jan. 5, he stated that a provincial museum should be housed in a purpose-built building located in a setting near woods or the shore. I would like to put forth the idea of Stratford's waterfront as the perfect location. Central location: The IRIS Group's heritage study recommended a museum be centrally located to make itself accessible to the highest number of visitors. Stratford is in the capital region, and is now connected to Charlottetown via public transportation. The location has the added attraction of sitting on the bank of the Hillsborough River, a designated Canadian Heritage River.- Space: Stratford's waterfront has adequate space not only for a museum and provincial archives but also for car and bus parking. The location would provide dramatic views of the harbour and Charlottetown's skyline.- Government presence: The provincial government has demonstrated its commitment to the concept of 'one Island community' by finding new homes for government departments. As the third-largest municipality in province, there is a conspicuous absence of government presence in Stratford. Locating the provincial museum in Stratford would go far to address this deficit.- Showcase opportunity: A purpose-built museum has the potential to be an architectural gem, reminiscent of the Canadian Museum of Civilization across the river from Ottawa. A provincial museum on the Stratford waterfront would be highly visible from Charlottetown and the Hillsborough Bridge. The design of a museum should be a drawing card in and of itself.- The future: At some point, a marina is planned for Stratford's waterfront. Both municipalities would benefit if summertime tourists were able to take a pedestrian ferry from historic downtown Charlottetown across the Hillsborough River to the provincial museum in Stratford. A ferry could even complete the triangle, connecting to Rocky Point (Port la Joye/Fort Amherst) before returning to Charlottetown. Before a location is chosen for the wrong reasons, let's hope the province follows the IRIS Group's recommendation and allows a professionally led study to recommend the preferred site for a provincial museum and archives.
Doug Kelly is chair of the Stratford Heritage Committee.

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