Murray River council rejects heritage building's restoration
© Guardian photo by Steve Sharratt
The old train station in Murray River is slated for demolition in the next few weeks.
MURRAY RIVER — The bones of the old train station here are up for picking after the local village council voted last week to tear the structure down.
In a nearly unanimous decision, the council has turned thumbs down on a planned restoration for the building that has been part of the community since 1904.
“It’s just heartbreaking to me,’’ said village chairman Garnet Buell, who had no vote in the decision. “Only one of the councillors supported me.”
While Buell saw a diamond in the rough, others saw an eyesore in the dust.
The train station was visible only after a demolition project last fall took down some other empty buildings.
The station had been attached and used as storage facility for a former grocery outlet since being decommissioned more than 40 years ago.
“It looked rough,’’ said Buell. “But you have to see the potential in things and most people didn’t, I guess.”
Buell had hoped to access heritage funding for the restoration and said many were incorrectly afraid that it would become a tax burden on the community.
One councillor at the meeting said there was no need to spend money and maintain a heritage building in Murray River. However, The Guardian was unable to expand on that point of view since his phone has been temporarily disconnected.
“We’re always tearing things down ... why not save something?’’ said the 81-year-old Buell, a former CN rail man.
A public meeting was held during the winter but failed to secure major support. One man even built a fence in front of his house so he didn’t have to look at the station.
“Don’t use my name because my neighbours will start growling, but if the station had been fixed up and a couple of shops opened up, people would have said what a great idea,’’ said one resident.
P.E.I. Heritage Foundation director David Keenlyside told The Guardian in an earlier interview the station had merit and would contribute to public heritage in the village.
Buell said efforts to sell the building privately have fallen through due to the moving costs and now heritage hawkers have been showing up to save some parts of the structure before demolition sometime in the next few weeks.