Wednesday, October 30, 2002 Back The Halifax Herald Limited

Christian Laforce
New Democrat Bill Estabrooks is calling for the Hamm government to better maintain the Swissair memorial site in Whalesback near Peggys Cove.

Shape of Swissair memorial a shame, NDP says

By David Jackson / Provincial Reporter

Finding which branch of government handles what issues can be a headache even for an MLA, New Democrat Bill Estabrooks discovered this week.

Mr. Estabrooks said Tuesday he wants someone to fix the pathway from the parking lot to the Swissair memorial site at Whalesback near Peggys Cove, established three years ago.

The path winds around rocks for about 100 metres to the memorial, and Mr. Estabrooks said it's worn away enough that the drainage system is visible in some places and it's possible someone could roll an ankle.

"To allow it to deteriorate so quickly is just embarrassing," said Mr. Estabrooks, MLA for Timberlea-Prospect.

Mr. Estabrooks said he spent hours on the phone Monday afternoon, calling a Peggys Cove community organization, Halifax Regional Municipality and provincial departments of Public Works, Natural Resources and Tourism trying to find who's responsible for the path's upkeep.

He said a Public Works official told him a committee of senior bureaucrats is responsible for the site, but the committee hasn't held any meetings yet.

Mr. Estabrooks said the runaround irritated him, and he issued a news release Tuesday calling on the Hamm government to come up with a plan for maintaining the site.

A Public Works spokesman referred this newspaper's call to a Natural Resources spokeswoman, who didn't return the call Tuesday afternoon.

from this link

Comment: Very interesting that the government set up a Memorial Trust Fund and accepted donations from families.  The main usage for this $$$ was for perpetual care of the sites, and now they canít even track down the three senior officials responsible??? Hmm? Gordon Gillis?

Below is a rather inadequate article on this matter - which has tended to misrepresent IASA - both as an organisation and in its role in looking into the state of the Whalesback Memorial. IASA is not a families group

Swissair families group concerned over dismal shape of N.S. crash memorial


 Click here to find out more!

Canadian Press

Thursday, October 31, 2002

HALIFAX (CP) - A group representing the families of those killed in the Swissair crash off Nova Scotia is concerned a memorial site marred by exposed drainage pipes and a crumbling walkway isn't being properly maintained, despite a fund established for that purpose.

Charlene Frenette of the International Aviation Safety Association said the fund,  which now has $393,000 in donations, is not being used to repair damage caused by thousands of visitors to the site since the September 1998 crash. A pathway, the only one in the small shoreline park that overlooks the crash site off Peggy's Cove, has been chewed away in spots by winter thaws, leaving corrugated drainage pipes jutting out of the ground in at least five spots.

The erosion has also caused several markers on the side of the pathway to tumble into an ecologically sensitive area in front of two large granite boulders that list the names of the 229 victims.

"I cannot help but wonder how the memorial at Whalesback could be allowed to fall into disrepair, considering the provincial government accepted public donations, some of which were from families of Swissair Flight 111," Frenette said in a recent letter to a Nova Scotia politician.

"Where is this money being allocated if not for upkeep?"

The fund is administered by the provincial Finance Department, but is dipped into by the departments of Natural Resources, and Transportation, which are responsible for maintaining the site.

But the fund, which was created a year after the air disaster, has only been used in 2000, when about $40,000 was spent on landscaping and improvements to some marble tiles and signage.

There were some expenses this year, but Finance officials haven't yet tabulated those invoices since they haven't completed this fiscal year.

The fund was established by a special Swissair secretariat that oversaw the design and creation of three memorials to the international passengers and crew who were killed when the jetliner plunged into waters off the picturesque coastline.

The monuments were also meant to thank people in the shoreline communities who rushed to the site in a futile bid to find survivors.

Frenette, a former member of the secretariat, is dismayed that more is not being done to ensure the popular memorial near the famed Peggy's Cove lighthouse is not being regularly maintained since it is visited year-round.

"There is a fund that should be used to keep up the site," she said in Halifax.

Bill Estabrooks, NDP member of the Nova Scotia legislature for the area, has urged the province to repair the damage, which he says has been evident since the spring. He said his daughter told him about it after visiting the area with a friend and finding several black pipes poking up through the ground.

"At this stage I'm pissed off - I just want the God damned path fixed,"  he said Thursday.

"It's a beautiful, scenic Nova Scotia seascape and a wonderfully contemplative place, but it needs to be kept up. It's supposed to be wheelchair accessible and it's an obstacle."

The Department of Transportation and Public Works dismissed the criticism, claiming work was being done regularly on the site and that the pathway isn't in bad shape.

Department spokesman Richard Perry said work was being done, but there were no signs Wednesday of any repairs. He said it was expected to cost about $10,000 to work on the pathway, which he said was being dealt with swiftly, even though one man who lost his daughter in the crash said the pipes have been protruding for several months.

"I don't think it's taken a whole lot of time at all," Perry said. "It's not in rough shape. The path had some erosion. It's been blown all out of proportion."

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