Demolishing BMO building a crime against posterity

Published on July 31, 2015

To the Editor,

I’m writing to express my sadness upon hearing of the town's decision to demolish the historic Bank of Montreal building.

Is there really nothing that can be done? Were all the submitted proposals for reusing the building so far off the mark that demolition is the only answer? This building is so much a part of our downtown landscape that losing it would be like losing a limb.

There might be some historic buildings that sadly can be let go, but this is not one of them. Amherst needs this building. Amherst needs it for its own identity.

This building is even on our welcome sign! The sign says: “Faith in our people, pride in our products.” Well, this building is a product of Amherst! Why would we as a community want to mutilate ourselves and debase our downtown core by tearing it down?

Tourism is one of the few things we have left and people come from all over to see historic Amherst. You might be surprised by how many people from Moncton come to Amherst to shop just because of how our downtown looks.

There must be other local contractors who are willing to tackle the roof since the previous one refused to do so. There are also some local traditional stonemasons who could handle this project if given the chance.

I know the town's decision has already been made on this subject, but I just had to express how much it bothered me to hear it. I can't imagine Amherst without this building. Our ancestors built this building at great expense and pride. It is incomprehensible that my newborn daughter, Viktoria, might grow up without this building. She will not have the chance to enjoy this beautiful structure as we all have and those who came before us have. These historic buildings link us with our past and make us the community that we are today.

Demolishing the Bank of Montreal building is a crime against posterity. We can’t allow our heritage to be squandered on our watch. It took too much time and effort to build it up.

 

Justin Helm,

Amherst