Dingle restoration project extended
Officials with Halifax Regional Municipality say the city's iconic Dingle Tower will remain shrouded by construction until next summer, when it celebrates the 100th anniversary of its opening.
Refurbishment of the tower on the Northwest Arm, which began in 2009, was expected to be done in time for this Monday's Natal Day celebration, but now the municipality says it won't be complete until 2012.
Terry Gallagher, HRM's manager of facility development, said closer examination of the wall structure uncovered some surprises.
"There's actually, in each wall section, an inside and outside course which are attached together and we found that those are moving independently and the whole tower was beginning to twist a bit," explained Gallagher.
The three phase project includes restoration of the masonry, roof repairs, and work on the exterior stairs.
Parks Canada has already contributed a half million dollars. An application for more federal money was turned down.
That means Halifax will have to cover the rest of the cost — at least a million dollars — from its capital budget.
Residents, tourists impatient
For years, Katherine Poole and her mother Georgina have visited the tower often for ice cream. She's not happy that it's still closed.
"The Dingle Tower is a very important piece of my history, personally, and certainly of the Dingle area. That you can't access is a shame for those who will come here from other countries," said Poole.
Sophie Quinn works at one of the concession stands below the tower. She said tourists ask her about the tower, but she has no answers.
"They're kind of wondering, why it was closed ... just wondering when it's going to be open, and I don't know what to tell them," said Quinn.
Gallagher said once this restoration is complete, the work should last another 50 years.
The architect working on the restoration is Syd Dumaresq, the grandson and namesake of one of the original designers of the tower — architects Sydney Perry Dumaresq and Andrew Cobb.
The Dingle or Memorial Tower was completed in 1911, after Sir Sanford Fleming donated the property to the citizens of Halifax for use as a park. The Dingle was built to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of representative government in Nova Scotia; the province having been the first colony in the British Empire outside the United Kingdom to form such a government.
The tower was formally dedicated in an impressive ceremony in August 1912 by Canada's Governor General — the Duke of Connaught, who was Queen Victoria's son Prince Arthur.