Easter Sunday Shocker! Memorial Arch now covered by Dome. Naming rights – SOLD!
Easter Sunday 2013, a day which will live in infamy for the Royal Military College of Canada? This was a day when the landscape was unexpectedly and drastically changed for one simple reason – the almighty dollar.
RMC was put on notice that no stone will go unturned as the government slashes hundreds of millions of dollars in defence spending. Over a 12 hour period on Easter Sunday the Sports Dome was moved and now covers the Memorial Arch long considered by many the soul of the College.
Why move the Dome to cover the Memorial Arch? We asked the lady who appeared to be directing the work around the two sites. What the heck is going on?
“The Dome has suffered design problems from the start. The terrain in the former area is just not conducive for this type of structure. Soccer players, in particular, have been complaining since day one of its opening.”
Surely there must be better places to locate the Dome? “That could be, but the Memorial Arch is close to 90 years old. The wear & tear over all these years has taken its toll; to repair and refurbish it to an acceptable level will take a lot of money.” She tried to explain with a farfetched rationale that “by being under the Dome it will be better protected”.
For some off the cuff reason she added, “What I can tell you is that in the end – ex-Cadets, Cadets, staff and friends of the College will applaud this change.”
Speaking like a typical bureaucrat she went on, “In addition, the naming rights of both the Dome and the Memorial Arch have been SOLD. New revenues have been generated by this move which will also help the government cut down the deficit.”
The Memorial Arch now sits in one area under the Dome which will not disturb the playing of rugby or soccer. Our photographer was ordered out of the area. A security guard even tried to confiscate his camera. He was elusive and managed to escape with all intact; he was able to hitch a ride with a Cadet with a pilot’s license. They flew near the site and managed to get a great aerial photo.
The spokesperson said, in trying to justify the rationale, “Reserve units across Canada are seeing their budget hit hard, the government will also be charging municipalities and provinces for emergency assistance.” She added, “Quite frankly this is just another step, in the deficit process.”
One other major concern is that the workers used some type of chemical spray to protect the roof of the dome. Being windy, the spray spread over the trees and brush nearby which quickly turned many of them a brownish colour almost what you would expect to see in the Fall of the year. We were assured that there were no health risks.
Because of the extra long weekend we were unable to make contact with the College leadership.
We asked about tradition and respect for the history of the Arch. “Respect and tradition will not help reduce the government deficit,” the spokesperson glibly informed me. We were advised to move along and told “an official announcement would be released later on Monday”. We were asked (not politely) to hold off with an article until they released the official announcement.
Of course, we declined.
The release of Government press releases often seem deliberately timed to be out of sync with the regular news cycle, ie: when they are least likely to be noticed. However, with still no official announcement or even a warning of these changes this verges on the bizarre.