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OPINION: Does community really care about future of Ralston armoury?

 It comes as no real surprise that the Col. James Layton Ralston Armoury is once again on the chopping block.

Despite efforts to keep the building active as a military facility, and of use to the community and as the home of the collection of artifacts that make up the Memory Club Museum of the renowned North Nova Scotia Highlanders, it appears there is no justification for the Canadian Military to keep putting money into a failing structure they no longer need to meet present-day operational requirements.
Russell Clarke has done proud service to date in his attempts to gain support from the federal government to keep this historic building active, and MP Bill Casey has also done his best to achieve the same end. Kudos to them for their efforts!
But it appears to the casual observer that serious interest from a substantial number of citizens of Amherst, all of whom should be prepared to raise their voices in protest at the plans of those feds responsible for the upkeep of the place, who would picket in protest, who would camp out at the building in order to demand it be saved, is lacking. In fact, it seems that hardly anyone cares at all!
A major amount of repairs have been completed in recent years, but some apparently still need to be undertaken. But it seems that an organized effort needs to be made by concerned citizens to investigate what the costs of those remaining repairs might be, and the possibility of getting the government to sell the building to those interested citizens for a dollar, in order that the armoury and the Memory Club Museum can be kept in this community for many years to come. It seems to me that the government may indeed be a good deal more cooperative if any effort to keep the armoury in the community also included taking the facility off their hands.
On the other hand, if the interest toward this outcome is non-existent, or the inherent costs of such undertakings are too great, then it makes sense to let it go. But one thing for sure is the absolute need to keep the Memory Club Museum here in this community. Perhaps it could be incorporated into the Cumberland County Museum, with an undertaking to create a new building on the CCM grounds to house this very important part of Amherst history. The point is that no idea should go unconsidered, and no effort should go untried.
One morning last week I was taking the dog out for her morning constitutional, when I discovered a NSLC paper bag between the doors. I discovered inside a very lovely small statue of a town crier. There was also a nice note expressing thanks to me for “all you do for the community.
Signed: Appreciative Amherstonians”
Well, needless to say I was, and still am, totally surprised by that kind gesture. I enjoyed 22 years as Amherst town crier, and would still be doing it today if I could see to read my Cry’s, but I had to retire in 2010, and I certainly never expected that kind of generosity from anyone. I thank you very much indeed, whomever you are, and sincerely wish you would get in touch with me so I can know who you are and thank you in person.
I wish you all a happy, active and safe summer.

Jerry Randall is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel.

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