Top News

Cape Breton Miners' Museum needs repairs


GLACE BAY - The Cape Breton Miners’ Museum is in desperate need of assistance from the three levels of government, according to its executive director.

Mary Pat Mombourquette, executive director of the Cape Breton Miners’ Museum in Glace Bay, shows new holes in the ceiling from the most recent rainstorm. Mombourquette said they need help from all three levels of government before more harsh weather hits.

“We have holes in our roof so when it rains and there’s wind, more of the infrastructure crumbles,” said Mary Pat Mombourquette.

“We are still standing but I don’t know how much more of this weather it can take.”

Mombourquette said a hole in the tower floor — which is also the ceiling of the administrative office — is open to the elements.

She said they tried covering the hole with various materials including a tarp, however the rain accumulates and it falls in, making the situation worse. Most times it’s simply open to the elements, she said.

“In the winter we cover it whenever we can to keep the cold out.”

She said the Thanksgiving Day storm caused more damage and the most recent rainstorm on Saturday added to the problem.

“The rain comes down from the tower and lands on the ceiling and the ceiling is collapsing.”

Mombourquette said although the building needs a lot of work, the tower is the most urgent issue.

“With the weather changing like it is, we don’t have the option of time anymore.”

Last year a building assessment was conducted by Michael MacDonald Architectural Concepts and identified the scope of the work needed which at the time totalled $1.5 million.

In particular, the site is facing serious leakage, ventilation, energy efficiency and architectural issues.

Mombourquette said they have talked to all three levels of government and the will to help is there but they haven’t gotten commitments on paper.

“It’s tricky as you need to get all three levels of funding and no one wants to be the first person in the boat,” she said.

“Once you get a signed piece of paper from one level, then it’s much easier to leverage the rest from the other levels.”

“Every day that goes by is a worry. If we’re in for another harsh winter, it'll just get more and more damage.”

Geoff MacLellan, the provincial minister of transportation and infrastructure renewal and the Glace Bay MLA, said he has spoken to Mombourquette.

"Obviously the three levels of government are interested in working together and making sure we address all the needs of the Miners’ Museum, certainly from the structural perspective.”

He said the study done last year by the department of transportation engineers determined there are structural issues with the roof.

“That’s what we need to identify and fix immediately,” he said. “We are getting the sense from Mary Pat and others around the museum, something has to be done before winter.

“There will be large projects associated with the building that Mary Pat would like to see but this is the one most urgent in nature.”

MacLellan said an application for funding has been submitted to the provincial Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.

“I’m going to follow up with my cabinet colleague this week to see where that application is and what’s required to move the application to the next step toward funding.”

District 9 Coun. George MacDonald has toured the building several times.

“The Miners’ Museum is very high on our priority list,” said MacDonald, adding he knows it’s also a top priority with the federal and provincial governments and the three levels of government have been talking.

“With all the flooding, the museum, Savoy or Bayplex, they are all very high on our priority list,” he said.

“The Miners’ Museum is probably the highest one because I know we can’t go through another winter with the damages that are there now. We have to get together, it’s not a matter of waiting a few months, we have to do it almost immediately.”

FAST FACTS

• Last year an assessment was conducted by Michael MacDonald Architectural Concepts which identified the scope of the work needed at the Cape Breton Miners’ Museum, totalling $1.5 million. In particular, the site is facing serious leakage, ventilation, energy efficiency and architectural issues.

• The Cape Breton Miners' Museum opened as a centennial project in 1967 to tell the story of the Cape Breton coal miner.

•The Cape Breton Miners’ Museum received about 11,000 visitors this summer from across the world.

 

Latest News