Repairing history

Darrell Cole
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DND to repair Ralston armoury

AMHERST - National Defence hopes to have repairs completed to the Col. James Layton Ralston Armoury sometime later this year.

A department spokesperson has confirmed that construction engineering consultants are reviewing the building's condition and should be in a position to make recommendations on remediation efforts soon.

"We do have a team from our construction engineering department that is reviewing the state of the building's exterior and are working on a consultants' investigation that will determine the long-term stabilization of the building," DND spokesperson Mike Bonin said.

Bonin said the structure at the front of the building was erected to protect people from falling sandstone. It was put in place after concerns were raised about the condition of the heritage property's sandstone exterior.

He said the building's remediation remains a priority for the department but a number of circumstances have delayed the project.

"It's pretty high up the priority list. One of the problems with all federal agencies right now is that while we're in election mode there's not a lot happening," Bonin said. "When the consultants arrive they're going to prioritize what can be done before the winter happens."

Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Bill Casey said department officials have been up front with him about their plans to restore the building.

"I have it in writing and it's going to be completed," said Casey referring to a letter he received from Rear Admiral P.D. McFadden of Martitime Forces Atlantic. "I've been getting nothing but positive co-operation from the department. I believe they recognize the historic significance of the building and its current value."

Casey said the project is making its way up the priority list and said the delay is a result of resources being used to support Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

"A lot of resources are focused on our soldiers in Afghanistan and I think everyone would be in agreement that's where it should be," Casey said.

Late last week, Second World War veterans Harold Ettinger and Russell Clarke expressed their worries about the future of the building that was the birthplace of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders.

Ettinger, president of the regiment's memory club, said government inaction was disrespectful to the hundreds of young men who went through the building on their way overseas. Many of these soldiers never came home.

Ettinger is thrilled the building is going to be restored.

"We're delighted. This was never meant to be political, it was just a case of let's get it done," Ettinger said. "As veterans we were a little worried there wouldn't be any of us left to see the work complete," Ettinger said. "This is wonderful news."

The armoury was built in 1914 and is home to several cadet corps as well as the North Nova Scotia Highlanders regimental museum and the Nova Scotia Highlanders Sergeant's Mess.

Bonin said considering the building is a heritage property, whatever work is completed will be done in accordance with those restrictions.

Organizations: National Defence, North Nova Scotia Highlanders regimental museum

Geographic location: Afghanistan, Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Susan
    January 18, 2010 - 11:23

    Topic is the building in figure it out...

  • Susan
    January 18, 2010 - 11:18

    MacKay's office pushed this-

  • Frank
    January 18, 2010 - 11:14

    If the Tories get a majority then plans will likely change for the Armouries . They will probably put a for sale sign on it . Julie Coulliard will likely get a consortium of real estate investors together ; buy it and turn it into condos . IMO

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 11:06

    MacKay's office pushed what then? the reconstruction of the little used armouries or of companies in a conservative riding losing contracts? if you are trying to make a point try using complete sentences.

    If your hat is to be hung on the issue of the armouries that is a really loose nail to hang it on.

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 11:05

    sorry whoever you are I will not comply with your demand. Aren't you the same person who ever you are that said I should die and also said I should join the circus?

    Again where is your comment on the story above? You have none I assume.

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:59

    Mr or Mrs. Speakers endless rant on behalf of Joel Bernard is quite entertaining. Yesterday he or she said Casey is a good man but read prior posts and this man or woman insults Mr. Casey repeatedly. Need I go back and reproduce them.

  • Huge
    January 18, 2010 - 10:58

    Yeah, yeah Frank - whatever - turns out I used to be the Queen of Spain.......

    But it was just a week ago you were telling us that 'things were drying up , so it just proves you are as misinformed as ever.

    You and your denocratic system .......

  • Huge
    January 18, 2010 - 10:58

    This is a sad day for Frank Speaker.

    This article does however serve as a good indicator of how convoluted some of Franks opinions and information is.

    Frank, are ya with me on this?

    Good news for the armouries and the area. The other side of the coin though, this great old building sits idly most of the time. Besides the facelift, it needs a new purpose in life besides a few nights of air cadets now and again.

    It would be great to see some new partners show up and use this facility to its potential.

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:53

    If the Tories get a majority and decide to treat CCMV in the way Mr. or Mrs. Speaker decides, it would highly unlikely then for a Tory to ever run successfully here for a very long time.

    Also with respect to Mr. or Mrs. Speakers silly arguements, wasn't it recently in Mr. MacKay's own riding that the DofD pulled a contract from out of that area, putting people out of work?

    If that is how things work, Mr. or Mrs. Speaker how is YOUR promise of mystery projects supposedly going to come CCMV's way?

  • me- not - you
    January 18, 2010 - 10:44


  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:43

    whoever you are, Mr. or Mrs. Speakers your ego knows no bounds. You could say you were the King of Spain and I wouldn't believe you. ***deleted - Jason, please stop with the comparisons to Nazis - Moderator ***

    Funny he or she wants a building that is barely used to have money shovelled into it but cries foul if the YMCA gets funding.

    I guess that's a sign of the gov't you want us to have. Punish the military? Wasn't it you that not so long ago was putting the conservatives down and decrying max bernier and the dnager to our troops. Your silence since then pretty much sums up your rhetoric.

  • Frank
    January 18, 2010 - 10:43

    Hugh i believe you were the Queen of Sidges and were so happy that you felt your Queeness covered the whole country .But had to come back to Maccan last week and try to meld in with those folk again .Sure they are studying a study and should have a recommendation but there are several reasons for the numerous delays and the war takes priority ,but it is on a to do list that might get superseded by something and with the election there isn't much happening . Well Hugh if we had an MP on the Government side the Minister of Nat Defence , Public works Minister and PM would Have things happening a plenty . I don't take any pleasure in bringing you delusioned types the real story ,here . I do like your positive outlook and your making wishes might make it happen . Take note that Mr Casey is so convinced that this will happen because he has a letter from a government employee saying it will . This Government worker takes his orders from a Government that Mr Casey says won't keep their word even when it is in writing . IMO

  • Frank
    January 18, 2010 - 10:33

    No Hugh it is a happy day for me to celebrate this great Denocratic system brought to you and me by my family members in 1758 . I was a substainted Sgt. in the Nove Scotia Highlanders at the age of 16 . I know the building very well and of course all those best people ever like Harold and Russ mentioned in the article . Mr Casey is a good MP however as he says he has no ability to get anything done on the political scene .In other words he can deal with public servants who are bound by law to talk to him . However,anything requiring approval of a Cabinet Minister,Cabinet,or Prime Minister .....well he claims to have no influence there . I doubt they will have much time for him . You may recall he claimed to have had discussions with the Agriculture minister about the Expermental farm . The Minister wrote a letter to ADM saying that was not the case . The article above has a lot of weasel words and escape clauses . I of course am a fan of the building and suggest that we not count our chickens before they hatch on this one . IMO

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:32

    Are you saying, Susan, MacKay pushed for the contract pull out to adversely affect a company in his own riding? So voting federally conservative means voting for a member who has no concern for his/her own riding?

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:32

    wow mr. or mrs. speaker, abc, susan, whoever you people are and the complaints you have made concerning the relection of Mr. Casey, you are all so wrong. yesterday mr. or mrs. speaker spoke of *politically sensitive projects* that will be shut out and Mr. or Mrs. Speaker didnt' even bother to say what those projects are? Last week comments concerning the Armoury were politically motivated without much basis. Now DND says they are going to repair it? Seems like CCMV is gonna be alright.

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:30

    well I do have a cue I use it at dooley's. I think you meant to say clue I'm not sure, must be the lack of one on one schooling or homeschooling.

    The articles states who uses the armouries, the cadets do. I even went there. Is this a heavily utilized place? Actually its not. It doens't mean it shouldn't be prepared after all it is a heritage building. But I have to question why is everyone trying to hang their hat on the armouries as proof we need a conservative gov't? Considering the cost of our involvement in Afghanistan and the coming economic crisis in Canada because of hte U.S., would it be irresponsible to spend tax dollars in a place that is used by so few and where there is no one out there screaming for it? Wasn't it you who said screw the YMCA? A place for our children and our community? To repair the armouries is the responsibility of the Department of National Defence. Should money be diverted from the Troops overseas to spruce up a building in Amherst? You tell me?

    As an issue in CCMV, I find it funny that the Casey naysayers are attempting to hang their hat on this building. Go back to the drawing board. NO matter who wins this election, there are larger priorities that being our active troops and keeping them safe and getting them home.