Tuesday, November 26, 2013

TV news coverage of plans to restore public access to Saanich Observatory

CTV Vancouver Island and CHEK TV report on plans to re-open the Centre of the Universe and restore public access to the Saanich Observatory, November 25 2013.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Exciting plans to restore public access to Saanich Observatory!

Attendees of stakeholder meeting, Nov 23 2013 
Nov 23 Meeting, Stakeholder attendees
Dear Friends of the Saanich Observatory,

On Saturday morning I chaired a meeting at the National Research Council (NRC)’s Astrophysics headquarters. 30 stakeholders came together to discuss how best to restore public access to the Saanich Observatory. 

Attendees included Dan Wayner, the NRC Vice President, and Greg Fahlman, the General Manager of the Observatory and Herzberg Institute, as well as the Dean of Engineering, Tom Tiedje, an Astrophysics Professor from UVIC, Sara Ellison, a Vice-President from the Royal Museum of BC, Janet MacDonald, prominent local business people, public school science teachers, and six long-time astronomy volunteers with the Royal Astronomy Society of Canada (RASC). A full list of attendees is in the sidebar image. I want to genuinely thank them all for their positive engagement and excellent contributions.

By the end of the three hour meeting we had agreement on the outlines of a plan to re-open the Centre of the Universe and restore public access to the Saanich Observatory! 

Of course there is a ton of work left to do, but we are now well on our way.

The NRC agreed to pay for all the infrastructure, maintenance, utility and security costs for the Centre of the Universe. They also agreed to negotiate free public access to the Observatory so regular Saturday night viewings could resume.

Centre of the Universe could reopen next spring

By Kyle Wells - Victoria News
Published: November 25, 2013 10:00 AM 
Updated: November 25, 2013 10:57 AM

Victoria stargazers will once again be looking to the skies, thanks to a tentative deal to reopen Centre of the Universe for Saturday nights beginning in April 2014.

The National Research Council, the operator of the Saanich-based facility, has agreed to give the public access to the Plaskett telescope on Saturdays and to provide a person to operate it. All other roles for the astronomy public outreach facility will be filled by volunteers from the Victoria branch of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, who are at the facility regularly on Saturdays anyway, using their own telescopes.

NRC will also provide upkeep to the building, security and a person who is trained to run the telescope.

Deal close to reopen Centre of the Universe for students and public viewings

Saanich South MLA Lana Popham the Centre of the Universe in
the summer, kicking off a a bid to keep the Saanich facility open.
A deal to do that is now close.  Photo: BRUCE  STOTESBURY, TC.

The stars are aligning for the Centre of the Universe to light up again for Saturday night gazing by students if a tentative agreement is sealed.
The centre is an interpretive centre adjacent to the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory on West Saanich Road. It closed its doors on Aug. 24.

CFAX breaks story of tentative deal to restore public access to Saanich Observatory

CFAX Clip of Nov 25 2013 Al Ferraby interview of MLA Popham CFAX