View of the western cluster of curtain antennas from the roof of RCI Sackville’s transmissions building. I took this photo in 2012 while the site was still in operation. (Photo: The SWLing Post) –Click to enlarge
A Mi’kmaq group has bought the land outside Sackville where 13 Radio Canada International towers stood for decades, CBC-Radio Canada confirmed Friday.
Five years after the Tantramar Marsh site was put up for sale, the New Brunswick non-profit Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn bought it for an undisclosed price.
“This transaction closes the book on an interesting chapter for CBC/Radio-Canada and Canadian broadcasting in the world of international shortwave broadcasting,” CBC’s Martin Marcotte wrote in an email.
A long broadcast history
The shortwave service ran for 67 years, and the site’s towers facilitated the service around the world until budget cuts in 2012.
The 90-hectare property was initially listed with the towers, to avoid the high cost of dismantling the facility, but in 2014, CBC began dismantling the towers in hopes the blank slate would entice more buyers.
“It’s tough to take something down that served such a purpose for the country, you know, during the Second World War,” Larry Wartman, CBC’s senior manager of transmission operations for Western and Atlantic Canada, told CBC News in 2014. “There’s just not that many of them around the world anymore.”
Building the future
The New Brunswick Mi’kmaq group Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn purchased the land Thursday but has yet to announce any plans or comment on the purchase, other than to confirm it. The non-profit group’s members are the nine Mi’kmaq communities in the province.[…]
Documentary filmmaker, Amanda Dawn Christie, has been gathering footage to create Spectres of Shortwave: a 90 minute documentary film focusing on the Radio Canada International Sackville transmitting site. Little did Christie know when she started shooting the film several years ago that the site would not only be be shut down but dismantled.
Christie recently shared back-up footage of the towers falling. She describes her videos on Vimeo:
“In the spirit of the founding principles of the CBC and public access to information, i am sharing the back up videos i shot this week of the RCI shortwave towers falling. I retain the copyright to these images, but i do want to share them with anyone who would like to watch them sooner rather than later (given that my film will still be a few month in post production before release). i would also like to thank the CBC for giving me permission to film, and all of the workers on site for being so cooperative and supportive.”
A piece of local history is slowly disappearing as crews dismantle the former Radio Canada International transmission towers on the marsh near Sackville, N.B.
The towers, erected prior to the Second World War, were declared obsolete in October 2012 after the CBC ended its shortwave service because of changing technology and the use of the Internet and satellite radio.
When no use was found for the facility the decision was made to have the towers dismantled.
“It’s really sad to see it coming down, there are so many great memories working there,” said former manager David Horyl, who spent more than 35 years working at the facility on the marsh. “It’s really going to change the look of thing over there. It’s quite a landmark.”
An excellent development in Canada: Senator Hugh Segal’s motion for a special committee enquiry into the CBC decision to slash the Radio Canada International budget by 80 per cent has received a unanimous vote in the Senate. Committee hearings will begin as early as February.
Below is the full press release I received from Senator Segal:
(Source: Office of Senator Segal)
Senator Hugh Segal has issued this statement on the unanimous vote in the Senate to have a special committee enquiry into the CBC decision to slash the RCI budget by 80 per cent.
“I am delighted that, in a non partisan way, the Senate voted to have the RCI matter go to a full review of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications. My motion was amended by Senator Champagne to go to a full committee hearing rather than a one day appearance before bar of the Senate.
That a ten percent cut to the CBC budget produced an 80 percent slash and burn of Radio Canada International reflects an internal CBC management decision which needs to be better understood. CBC management may well believe that if they let people go and dismantle transmitters, the problem will go away.
The importance of Canada’s voice to the rest of the world is not a detail of no consequence. The chance to call witnesses, pursue how other enlightened countries have expanded their short wave capacity, among other facts, will be a constructive step ahead in strengthening Canada’s international voice.”
Committee hearings on this matter may start as early as February2013.
I was just informed by RCI Sackville that they plan to continue to broadcast their North Quebec service and various relays of other broadcasters until the end of October. Specifically:
The North Quebec service will continue to operate until all five FM relays are in service to replace the shortwave broadcasts on 9,625 kHz. So far, only two of the five relays are in service.
They will continue to broadcast the following station relays until October 31st, 2012, unless the various broadcasters decide to pull out early. Below are a list of relays:
Voice of Vietnam
Vatican Radio (which, reportedly, will continue to broadcast until end of July 2012)
Again, this schedule is subject to change and the October 31st date could be altered depending upon when VOV, NHK and KBS decide to either discontinue their relays or broadcast them from elsewhere. The implication is that the North Quebec service on 9,625 kHz will be removed, perhaps even without warning, as soon as the remaining three local FM relays are in service.