Parks Canada tries once more

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Province House in the snow photographed by provincial photographer Brian Simpson.

Province House reopens again March 24; assurances building OK for rest of year

Let’s hope Parks Canada is successful with this latest re-opening of Province House. The historic building is scheduled to open its doors again March 24 after emergency repairs were completed to fix the ceiling where plaster crashed to the floor in the main stairwell in mid-January. The re-opening is just in time for the legislature to resume and hopefully the building will remain open for guests and visitors without further incident during this 150th anniversary year of the Charlottetown Conference.

Parks Canada says it is pleased to collaborate with the province of P.E.I. to ensure the building is open and ready to welcome visitors throughout this celebration year. Pardon us if those words don't come across as very reassuring. Province House was the main attraction during gala New Year’s Eve celebrations but the latest closure has placed an embarrassing damper on 150th events. The ceiling mishap came just three weeks after Parks Canada proudly proclaimed in late December the building was ready to reopen and host visitors from around the world following $2 million in renovations.

Parks Canada says it is taking important steps to ensure the integrity of the building but doesn’t say what those steps are. Nor does it make any reference to a recent damning report which suggests Province House is in serious disrepair because of years of neglect.

Here’s some advice to MLAs: keep the desk thumping, noise level and catcalls to a minimum when the House resumes next month. And it wouldn’t hurt to keep your heads up as well.

Dual tragedy strikes

Two tragic events occurred this past week that caused shock and grief on P.E.I. One involved the death of a well-known Islander and the other involved someone who was here for a short time but made a lasting impact. David McKenna was a well-known Charlottetown optometrist who operated Family Vision Centre for the past 32 years. He had a four-year stint in politics as the MLA for Glen Stewart Bellevue Cove, and was involved with the UPEI board of governors, QEH Foundation, sports and various professional and charitable organizations. He was deeply interested in politics as anyone getting an eye exam quickly became aware. He was an energetic force in any venue whether a formal banquet or the UPEI hockey rink.

Tim Kenney came to UPEI from the Barrington area of southwestern Nova Scotia to earn his degree and take over the family business from his dad. He spent four years at UPEI and while here was an active member of the Charlottetown Curling Club and St. Peter’s Cathedral Church in Charlottetown. He was a popular CCC member and was readily identifiable with his unique brown headgear. He graduated in 2010 and died last Saturday at age 27 in a Yarmouth hospital of a blood clot, just five months after getting married.

A weekend thought

. . . Arrest warrants have been issued for two Nova Scotia groundhogs following grossly inaccurate predictions for an early Maritime spring. Not only has this winter been long, cold and stormy, but a snowstorm is forecast for next Wednesday. And speaking of forecasts, the long-range winter predictions last fall from Environment Canada, The Weather Network and Accuweather were also inaccurate. Instead of a quiet, mild winter, we got polar vortexes and a string of Pineapple Expresses and Alberta Clippers. Winter arrived in early December and stayed with an icy tenacity. The only forecast that was bang-on came from the Olde Farmers Almanac which has been making predictions since 1792. OFA predicted bitter cold and heavy snows, based on positions of the moon and sun. Those seem to have more relevance than digital maps, charts, satellites, scientists and El Nino analysis. The spring forecasts were just released from the scientific big three, calling for normal temps and above normal rainfall. Oh, drats. It means we might be golfing by June.

Organizations: Parks Canada, Province House, Charlottetown Curling Club UPEI board QEH Foundation Cathedral Church in Charlottetown Yarmouth hospital Environment Canada The Weather Network

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Nova Scotia, Barrington Peter

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