The future of the historic New Brunswick Museum is still up in the air, and now the public is being asked to weigh in on what they think should happen to the provincial archives.
“This was an opportunity for us today to be able to share the information that we’ve been learning over the last number of months to talk about the options,” said Jane Fullerton, CEO of the New Brunswick Museum, on Tuesday.
Fullerton said they are looking at four options, two of which would involve expanding on the north side of the building. Other options are to move to a new facility, or to build onto Riverview Memorial Park.
Veteran John Campbell was one of many Saint John residents initially opposed to expanding onto the park, which is dedicated to veterans of the Boer War, but he has since changed his mind.
“I was torn by it,” said Campbell. “It is a neglected part of the city. After listening to this presentation today, I really feel that if they do the development to the park land, it will draw more attention to that war memorial.”
Of the four options presented Tuesday, the option of expanding onto the park was most favoured.
“It’s less than 10 per cent of the park and I think that if folks seen the plans to enhance that asset for the community with the walking trails, the outlook to the river, I think people would be very pleased and be ready to move forward with this option,” said Saint John resident Gail Bremner.
Engineers say the museum will be unsafe by 2017 if work isn’t done. The 80-year-old building needs roof repairs, fire suppression and better public accessibility.
But some residents fear the museum may end up leaving Saint John if it moves.
“I really don’t want to see any element of the New Brunswick Museum be anywhere else, and I think when you look at what they have planned for their collections centre, it really would respond well to our visitors,” said tourism operator Melanie Colpitts.
The museum is waiting for approval from city council to conduct a geotechnical survey that would test the ground to see if it could support construction. They expect to hear back within the month.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ashley Blackford