HERITAGE: AN IMPORTANT PART OF A BALANCED BREAKFAST
Though I’m dismayed by Dechene’s cynicism regarding Connaught School, I understand it (“Out With The Old”, March 7). In the 25-plus years I’ve lived in the Cathedral village, our community has endured repeated attacks from the school board and City Hall. Still, we have an international human right to preserve our heritage. We must insist on a second opinion because of its value to our community, our city and our province, and because the school board appears to have bungled previous repairs to the building.
The United Nations Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972, guarantees our right to preserve a building that has architectural and cultural value. Connaught is a concrete testament to who we are. Its preservation acknowledges the importance of our history, of the stories the building tells. How many hundreds of hands have touched those walls and banisters? How many feet have walked those floors, raced up and down those stairs? How many stories? Saving the building validates the memories of all those individuals. It gives everyone who will pass through in the future the ability to literally touch history.
Add to that the distinct possibility that the fixes the school board made in the past were inappropriate for a 1912 building. A heritage conservationist toured the building with the parent council and believes the damages to the building may be overstated. The apparent issues could possibly be remedied quite easily and prevent further degradation to the building. But specific testing by qualified heritage professionals must be conducted to determine specifics.
In other words, if the province sincerely cares about the value of heritage and about economic feasibility, it must get a second opinion. To rely on spitball guesstimates by untrained professionals is foolhardy at best. Even the school board admits it does not know the severity of the damage to Connaught or the real costs in renovating it.
A renovation could well cost less than a new building which might only last 30 or 40 years. Who knows? A refurbished Connaught could last another hundred!
DEMOLITION: IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO
Mark me down as one of the “idiots” that Stephen Whitworth refers to in his “Brick by brick” editorial (I’m still trying to figure out how the Prime Minister fits into this story). The Public School Board has acted in the best interests of the ratepayers and, in my view, those students who will be attending the “new Connaught”. While there is a heritage argument to be made, Connaught isn’t exactly old City Hall and, in any event, the Board has indicated that there will be consideration given to incorporating some aspect of the old building into the new school.
Those that wish to cling to the past should put together a plan to save the building that doesn’t include having the taxpayer fund the additional cost of rehabilitating the existing structure.
In other words, if people are so interested in saving Connaught as we know it they should show us the money.
A MESSAGE TO RIGHT-WING RAT BASTARDS
Re: “Creative Confusion” in the Feb. 21 issue: Damn you, right-wing rat bastards! Really think you can fool us with this vague Transition “Fund” idea? The reason you won’t discuss details is because there’s really nothing there. Your plan is to make things up as you go, simply to stop filmmakers and people concerned about culture from pointing out obvious flaws. Just keep everyone in the dark, and they won’t notice a complete sham. Won’t work! The death of the SFETC will be reflected not only in Saskatchewan culture, but in the Canadian film industry as a whole. It won’t be forgotten.
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