Tourism, Culture and Recreation
November 24, 2006

Plans for Development of Colonial Building to Proceed

Plans for the restoration and development of an important historic landmark for the province are now underway. The Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, today announced the appointment of an advisory committee to provide guidance to the Provincial Government on its plans for development of the Colonial Building. These plans include the restoration of the building and the interpretation of the political history of Newfoundland and Labrador.

�The Colonial Building is an icon of the physical and historical landscape of this province,� said Minister Hedderson. �The expertise of the members of the advisory committee will be of tremendous benefit as we move forward with plans to develop this significant landmark.�

Shane O�Dea, professor of English at Memorial University and St. John�s heritage advocate, will sit on the committee, along with George Chalker, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Marilyn Dawe, an interpretation specialist with Parks Canada. They will be joined by officials from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation and the Department of Transportation and Works.

Minister Hedderson also announced the awarding of two contracts associated with plans for the Colonial Building. The first is for the development of a historic structure report, awarded to the PHB Group of St. John�s. The second will provide an interpretation plan on the province�s political history and has been awarded to Apropos Planning of Ottawa. The company will collaborate with Dunbar Studios of St. John�s and local archivist, Bert Riggs.

�This work will provide us with a solid foundation on which to move forward with the restoration of the Colonial Building and the development of an innovative approach to interpreting the province�s fascinating political history,� added Minister Hedderson. �To that end, a request will be made to our federal counterparts for a contribution of funding for this very important project.� Minister Hedderson also noted that the public will have the opportunity to provide comments on the proposed development, with details to be announced at a later date.

Biographies of Advisory Committee Members

Shane O�Dea, professor of English and public orator at Memorial University, has long been involved with preservation in Newfoundland and Labrador. Mr. O�Dea has become a recognized authority with respect to the built heritage of the province. Not only has he demonstrated knowledge of the architecture, building forms and techniques of the province�s domestic, vernacular and public buildings and structures, he has committed considerable energies to their conservation, preservation and reconstruction. Having served on innumerable national and provincial boards dealing with matters relating to the arts and heritage, Mr. O�Dea has played a significant role in the majority of preservation efforts and activities that have taken place in the province over the past 30 years. In 2005, Mr. O�Dea was inducted into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador.

George Chalker has been involved with the built heritage of St. John's for over 26 years. In 1984, he received the Newfoundland Historic Trust Southcott Award in recognition of his significant contribution in restoring several residential properties. Since 1988, he has served as executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland, the provincial agency responsible for the designation and granting of provincial heritage structures. Mr. Chalker serves as the provincial representative for the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada and is a long-time member of the Newfoundland Historic Trust. In 2006, he was elected chairman of the Board of Governors of the Heritage Canada Foundation.

Marilyn Dawe is a cultural resource management specialist with Parks Canada, with an extensive background in interpretation planning and development. Her work projects have included both provincial and national histories sites, such as the Signal Hill Visitor Centre, Hawthorne Cottage, Ryan Premises, and Cape Bonavista Lighthouse. Ms. Dawe is a member of various associations concerned with the preservation of culture and heritage.

Consultants Involved in the Planning of the Colonial Building Development

Apropos Planning is a Canadian consulting firm specializing in exhibit research and development, as well as interpretive planning and strategic planning for museum development, science centres and visitor centres. Their work includes the interpretation of political history on such sites as the Canadian Parliament Buildings, Rideau Hall, and Province Hall, Prince Edward Island.

The PHB Group Incorporated is an architecture, design and project management firm with an extensive portfolio of related projects, including those carried out throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. These include work on the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Government House and The Rooms.

Dunbar Studios specializes in graphic and exhibit design, with services in exhibit and interpretive planning, design and installation. Previous work projects / sites include The Rooms Provincial Museum, Admiralty House Museum and Archive, the St. Lawrence Miner�s Memorial Museum and Terra Nova National Park.

Bert Riggs is a well-known local archivist with Memorial University and has a wealth of experience in the preservation of Newfoundland and Labrador history and culture. Actively involved in the archival community, he has been president of the Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archivists and the Newfoundland and Labrador Council of Archives. He is also a member of the Association of Canadian Archivists, and of the National Archival Appraisal Board of Canada.


Media contact:
Glenda Power
Communications Manager
Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation
709-729-0928, 728-7762

2006 11 24                                                            3:10 p.m.

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