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President's Message - March 2004

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March 2004

Chris Gainor

This month we are celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Victoria Centre with a special program led by our Centre Historian, Bill Almond.

When our founders set up this centre in 1914, work was under way on Little Saanich Mountain to build the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. Now 90 years later, we are talking about acquiring an observing site for the use of our members.

As I outlined in my message last month, council met in late February to consider this matter and the disposition of astronomical equipment that our Honourary President George Ball is donating to us.

Council decided to move George's dome and equipment to a temporary location for storage while we decide how best to use the dome, telescopes, eyepieces and other equipment that he is giving our centre.

In the past few weeks, council members have heard all sorts of ideas about possible observing sites for the Victoria Centre. These include using existing sites at the DAO and Pearson College, a Scouts Canada camp in Sooke, the Gonzales weather observatory in Victoria, and another park site or private property in Greater Victoria.

Council discussed these and other ideas, and decided to set up an Observing Site Committee chaired by Dave Bennett, with Bruno Quenneville, David Lee, Sandy Barta and myself as members.

Dave is going to work on the initial document setting out the scope of the committee�s work, which will include looking at what sort of facility members want, and where it would best be established.

Needless to say, many of these choices will involve a great deal of work and financial support to make a reality. Opinions will vary on what sort of facility will be needed, from a pad for members to set up their own telescopes, to a fully equipped observatory. And there will be even more contention over location, as the geography of Victoria, coupled with the need to balance access with dark skies, all have to be weighed.

The committee will not be a decision making body. Those decisions remain in the hands of council. But we need to know what the alternatives are, their strong and weak points, and what they will cost, and the committee will give us that information.

We on council and in the committee want to get as much input as possible from members. Contact information for council members is available in Skynews, and Dave can be reached at Dave.Bennett@gems4.gov.bc.ca

We look forward to hearing from you about your visions that will take the Victoria Centre to the end of its first century and beyond. 

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Last updated: December 12, 2013

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