FILE – The Centennial Botanical Conservatory.
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City administration has recommended the Centennial Botanical Conservatory be partially reopened to the public following some temporary repairs.
The city closed the conservatory in February after reports came in of glass falling from the roof. Since then there has been a public outcry to have the conservatory reopened. The city’s facilities and fleet department released its recommendations for the conservatory online Friday.
The report, which is going before council Monday night, recommends the conservatory reopen its tropical display house to the public, but only after placing a temporary safety netting to protect visitors and staff from falling glass.
The temporary repairs would cost about $76,000.
Other recommendations include:
• Keeping the East and West wings display areas closed
• Decommissioning and demolishing the greenhouse and access walkway to be included in the 2013 budget proposal
• Creating a long-term facility and renewal strategy for 2014
Current River Coun. Andrew Foulds said the report was balanced, but admitted he was disappointed and embarrassed the city allowed the conservatory to get to the state it was in.
“We dropped the ball on this one,” Foulds said. “I’m discouraged about the state the building is in. Legacy projects like this not only serve as a symbolic role in our city but also have a real quality of life in our city as well. There are some major structural issues that have to be dealt with and council will have to put its mind to in the future on what it wants to do.”
Foulds said he wasn’t in favour of a quick fix to the conservatory and would rather a see a slow process that included public consultation, a proper review of the facility and the possibility of relocating the conservatory to a new location.
He suggested the conservatory and the Thunder Bay Art Gallery could both be relocated to the Pool 6 area near Prince Arthur’s Landing.
“They are both off the beaten track,” he said. “They have low visibility and don’t have a very high profile. I think there are some pretty viable synergies between the art gallery and the conservatory around Pool 6 for example.
“Imagine people coming off a cruise ship and going to a fantastic facility that celebrates the arts and nature and then be able to celebrate everything else at the waterfront.”
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