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Letter: Story of two of Nelson's Historical Landmarks

To The Editor:

As I watch the deconstruction of the former Mount Saint Francis Hospital, while recalling the “stories of former staff of the long-term care facility and the families of those who were cared for or died there”- Lee Reid’s book, Stories of Mount St. Francis Hospital 1950-2005, I sorrowfully wonder if such tragedy could be repeated.

As a student, from 1966 to 1970, of MSF’s neighbour, Notre Dame University of Nelson, BC, I was new to Nelson and ignorant of the exemplary long-term care of our elderly citizens next door. Fast forward to 2005 and the IHA’s closure of “the Mount”.

Although I recall news surrounding its closure under community protest, I didn’t involve myself.

So it is with a sense of guilt for my non-action in 2005, that I now regret the loss of valuable services offered by former staff to our most vulnerable, and the demise of a true Nelson historical landmark.

Is there a lesson to learn from the demise of MOUNT ST FRANCIS HOSPITAL, as related to the CIVIC CENTRE’S future?

I have questioned City Council, RDCK and Recreation Commission 5 as to their long- term plan for the Civic Arena as an ice facility? Although they have acknowledged my question, none have provided an answer.

Are their plans to close the Civic Centre as an ice facility?

Are their plans to repurpose the Civic Centre? Is its fate that of MSF?

“Nowadays, weighing heavily on many minds are various historical events, some with world-wide ramifications. What, I wonder, are the social lessons to be learned from not- inquiring or not-engaging?

As with the Civic Centre and Mount Saint Francis Hospital, do we need to ask more ‘why’s’ before it is too late?”

Bill McDonnell, Nelson, BC

The Vernon Street entrance to the Civic Centre Arena in Nelson.

Crews continue to demolish the Mount St. Francis building in Upper Fairview.