Group raises money to repair Fort La Tour after suspicious fire
SAINT JOHN -- In the wake of the suspicious fire at the historic Fort La Tour site along Saint John’s Harbour Passage, the group behind the re-development project is now raising funds to help recover from the incident.
A Canada Helps page has has been created with a goal of raising between $25,000 and $30,000, which would help the organization to cover costs, which include enhanced security.
"We're going to put a wrought-iron fence around the plaza," said Fort La Tour Development Authority Chair Beth Hatt. "Around the whole fort in order to secure it better than it was."
It was around 2:30am on May 19 that flames broke out at Fort La Tour, and responding firefighters were met with a "significant" amount of fire coming from the smaller interpretive centre near the water.
The fire happened just three weeks before the tourist attraction was slated to open to the public for the first time, and now, a new opening date remains to be seen – however – officials have stated that they want to capture at least some of the summer season.
"We’re still hoping to get it open as quickly as possible," said board member John Runcie. "To be determined at this point with the renovations that need to take place to bring things back."
The organization says it was counting on revenue from the site being open to help cover any remaining construction costs and start-up expenses – and although they do have insurance, Hatt says that although they do have insurance, it does not cover everything.
"We were going to have a few schools, we were going to have some corporate events, there were a few things we could have done and we’re still not sure how and when we can do that," said Hatt. "We won’t know for probably another few weeks when everybody’s been in and they’ve all done their assessments to tell us how long it’s going to take."
Fort La Tour is a designated national historic site for its connection to governor of Acadia, Charles de Saint-Étienne de La Tour, and the re-development is meant to evoke what the fortified French fur trading post might have looked like here in 1631 when it was built.
The Saint John police, meantime, have released photos of two individuals they are asking for the public’s help in identifying as part of the investigation into the fire at the Fort La Tour site.
They’re asking anyone with any information about these individuals– or about the fire in general – to contact either the Saint John police department or Crime Stoppers.