Tuesday, July 9, 2013

GTO'S AND HERITAGE: GOVERNMENT IS OUT OF GAS

The view from The Rooms from the second floor foyer of the offshore fog banks rolling over the narrows spilling into the harbor and surrounding hills is simply breathtaking.  It truly is a place where our culture, heritage, artistry and geography comes together to create a sense of place.

While some local jokingly refer to our pubic cultural place as the box the Basilica came in, the unique architectural design is a striking connection to fishing rooms that once dominated the shorelines of our coastlines. These rooms is were the roots of our culture, history, commerce are anchored.

I am a little biased due to the fact that it was my pleasure to be part of the construction committee that oversaw the construction and the establishment of the governance structure for our cultural icon.  It is so nice to sit down in the foyer and take-in the vistas knowing that when I was first introduced to the project it was through models and blue prints.

Of course, by the time it opened in 2005, the provincial Liberals had run out of gas and had been chased out of office. The Progressive Conservatives, who had dammed the project from its very announcement, took great pleasure and grandeur in officially opening the new home of our archives, museum  and art gallery.

It is a shame that there shortsighted resulted in a $1.05 million reduction in the operating grant for the facility this year. The result, an unavoidable reduction in operating hours and staffing levels. I expect further reductions in operating hours in the fall limiting the accessibility of our depositary of culture.

Jake Doyle and his Republic are very much in vogue. St. John's has never looked more beautiful with the popped out colors but raising funds to sponsor a major television show must be easier than raising money for a cultural center. Sure Doyle and the film industry create jobs and grow tourism. It is a shame that our government chose to cut our access to The Rooms and increase funds for a T.V. show.

I'd take the archives and the museum over a G.T.O on the boob-tube any day.

At the very least, I would not be filling the G.T.O's gas tank at the expense of The Rooms considering the significant investment that the public have already made to make The Rooms a reality.


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