François Cardinal ponders the Biosphere on Quel Avenir. He’s quite down on the existing museum elements in the building but strongly wants it to stay open to the public.
I went over there a couple of weekends ago (alas, without realizing it, during the heavy metal festival, so it wasn’t a quiet visit). And there were people in the museum bits, playing with the gadget that lets you do practical water management, peering through the telescopic gadgets that point out the many features visible up and down and across the river from the heights of the museum. Whether one, as a journalist or hip observer, finds the museum passé, in fact it’s got its public and they were there, adults solo and in small groups, families and kids all enjoying the exhibits and the incomparable views from the top levels of the structure inside.
But the Harper government wants to axe all this, no doubt as part of their ongoing policy of shutting down public access to information about Canada’s environment. We can’t stop the Harper juggernaut along these lines but we shouldn’t let that fact shut the building off from us.
The sphere must remain open and accessible. Why insist it must be useful or didactic? Just on its own, the structure is a trip to visit, and I recommend everyone do so while they can. It’s not expensive – $9 for an adult. I think maybe if you put a café on the main upper floor and let people just go inside and wander around – there’s wi-fi, you can just sit and look out at the horizon in several directions – it would be wonderful. The building’s geothermally heated and has wind turbines, so its operating costs can’t be too high.