The temporary closure is a precautionary measure resulting from glass that has fallen from the facility’s ceiling over time. Access was already restricted in a section where a pane of glass fell earlier this month.
During the temporary closure, City staff will take safety precautions while they work at the Conservatory to maintain the plants.
The City’s Facilities & Fleet Department has now assumed the day-to-day maintenance of the Conservatory Building and will be assessing and preparing further action plans. A report will come to Council in March or April to determine the feasibility of maintaining and operating the existing Centennial Conservatory facility.
The Conservatory was opened in 1967 by the Fort William Parks Board as a Centennial project that was to be left to the community. The central and largest room in the Conservatory is the tropical house, a humid arboretum. The east wing is reserved for seasonal floral shows and the west wing contains a permanent display of plants native to arid regions. The Conservatory is not a heritage building but its design is unique to this region and, based on comments received from tourists and local citizens, it’s evident that the Conservatory has made a significant contribution to the quality of life of the community over the years.
City Council and administration recognize the need for additional infrastructure funding for City facilities and other assets and, by 2014, are looking to increase annual funding by $9.5 million through the Enhanced Infrastructure Renewal Program.