How painfully ironic that news Fort St. Pierre and the Lookout Tower at Pither’s Point have been closed indefinitely due to their shoddy condition came the same week the Sunset Country Museums Network spring meeting here was told preserving museums and historic sites helps drive the economy.
Historic sites bring thousands of tourism dollars into a community each year and losing them can make a big impact on the local economy, Rob Leverty, of the Ontario Historical Society, told museum reps. “We need to make the most of these important assets,” he urged.
Too bad town councils haven’t been taking this message to heart over the years. And now Fort Frances is faced with the very real possibility of losing two of its major tourist attractions—and two more reasons to get visitors to stop here after crossing the border.
This also goes beyond money. Surely, civic pride would have dictated more attention to the Pither’s Point sites, keeping them vibrant and attractive instead of rotting away. Just what kind of first impression do you think that makes on tourists?
Whatever the reasons, and whoever is to blame, the point is we’re now almost at the point of no return—given estimated repair costs have been deemed “prohibitively high” by the engineering consultants. Fortunately, if results of the informal Web poll by the Times this past week is any indication, about three-quarters of the almost 140 respondents agree the town should spend the money for the necessary repairs.
Hopefully, town council will heed this message and find a way to save Fort St. Pierre and the Lookout Tower in the next budget. We’ve run out of “wait until next year” excuses—because next year there may not be anything left to fix up.
We need these sites to attract tourists, and help the local economy. They’re also important to keeping alive our past for future generations to respect and enjoy.
And besides, shouldn’t a town named for a fort have a fort?