Friday, August 31, 2012

Cultural Center Part 1.

For several years now I have been contemplating writing something on the proposed Cultural Center for Nain slash Nuntatsiavut.

Not so much the concept or the building itself (though there are reservations) but the site picked for the building.

When first announced (quietly) I thought, WTF!, are these people serious. Then the thought struck me that in time common sense would surface to the top and a serious re think and subsequent stable site would be sought.

No such luck.

Here is a concept drawing-photo of the proposed Cultural center and an news piece on the subject here.

And here is the site chosen. 

Right click on image and click open link in new window for larger view. 

In the larger image you will note that the site chosen is in the watershed that affronts the main part of town.  I have white circled that area. 

To gain access by a road (the finished product)  a house had to be removed (so it is claimed). 

Interestingly the house removed was the last remaining house of that type left in Nain and had a significant historical and cultural background. 
I have a blue scribble over the house.

The red circle above the site is what remains of the caribou plant that was attached to the fish plant. The caribou plant was condemned just a couple of years after it was built. You see they built it in the watershed, though not as far into the watershed as this Cultural center will be. 

Moving ahead to the present; Last winter attempts were made to do some geophysical drilling, a very half arsed attempt if I may so so, the drill and crew were inadequate and the drill became stuck on the first hole.  

Come the summer a marginally lager drill was dispatched and a series of holes drilled over a wide area of the site. It took forever and I hope the proponent was billed by the foot and not as a cost plus.

No solid rock base was found, permafrost frost was hit at varying depths in some holes from five feet to forty feet.  

Not surprisingly water enveloped many holes.  

Below is collage of the middle stages of drilling, the site is relatively undisturbed except that a fisherman's boat shed and small boat ramp had been removed. 

The site sits at 0 meters to 1  meter above sea level according to Google earth. There is one brook slash storm water drain that runs year round onto the site.  There are also at least 2 to 3 springs that run onto the site at verying levels of intensity depending on the time of year, rain fall and seepage from the above hills.

These water sources are met in the watershed by the seepage from the sea, plus storm surges and differing levels of tide from the sea.
In a NL government research paper from 2010 of past and present sea level changes it states that the coast of Labrador could undergo sea level rises of between 70 to 90 cm by 2099.

These sea level changes are particularly of concern to areas of low lying or low-slopping coastal areas. Of which we are one.

Historically there have been homes built along this water shed. A saw mill once stood in the area. All have long since gone and in my 32 years here the only structure built was the caribou plant that lasted 2 to 3 years plus the fisherman's shed that quickly developed a strange angle.

My memory may be fading but I seem to remember that the town council either past or was thinking on passing a by law forbidding any future structures right along the watershed of the town.



Sean Lyall said...

There are many tried and true engineering techniques Nain is not familiar with. Friction Pile would work there I suppose. In other parts of the world building on sea front watershed is quite common and probably the only option. It's just unusual in Nain which makes people unsure. I like what they are trying to achieve. Different, Bold, not the same ole square building with windows in it. This is a Cultural Centre. It should be Unique.

Brian said...

Oh thee great defender of everything NG, the heading says Part 1.