Let the bell ring out: Moose Jaw city council clamps clapper replacement - InfoNews

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Let the bell ring out: Moose Jaw city council clamps clapper replacement

Moose Jay city hall is shown in a handout photo. A clarion call has gone out in Moose Jaw, Sask., to repair a more than century-old bell that sits atop the city hall clock tower and some day make it ring for the first time since the 1960s. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Discover Moose Jaw News MANDATORY CREDIT
January 30, 2019 - 8:04 AM

MOOSE JAW, Sask. - A clarion call has gone out in Moose Jaw, Sask., to repair a more than century-old bell that sits atop the city hall clock tower and some day make it ring for the first time since the 1960s.

Moose Jaw's Heritage Advisory Committee told city councillors on Monday that the bronze bell needs a new clapper and new bolts to replace the now rusted ones that were originally installed to attach it to a big wooden beam.

Council voted to make the necessary repairs to address safety concerns, but is holding off for the time being on restoring the bell's capacity to ring.

Coun. Crystal Froese argued there is significant heritage value in restoring the iconic bell with at least an electronic clapper and she plans to revisit the issue after the repairs are done.

The bell once chimed on the hour and Froese says if the electronics are installed, it could at least be used on special occasions such as Remembrance Day or Christmas.

Moose Jaw City Hall was originally built as a post office in 1911 and the bell was manufactured in 1913.

The heritage committee had proposed to council that if the city paid to replace the rusted bolts, it would provide $10,000 to cover the cost of a new clapper.

The Heritage Advisory Committee is also recommending restoration of the glass on the clock's face.

Administrators will put together a report on the cost of the bolt replacement. City manager Jim Puffalt said council has the final say on installing an actual clapper.

"Realistically, we have to deal with the safety issues, and the second issue of using the heritage fund to make the bell operable again is up to council to decide."

The original bolts will be changed out with stainless steel components. Workers will have to crawl into a tight space at the top of the tower dome to make the repairs.

The clock itself is one of the few in Saskatchewan that is still manually wound by staff every few weeks.

Froese said she wants to see the city treat heritage buildings as assets, include them in budgets and ensure that they are maintained. She noted that city hall ranks among the most photographed landmarks in Moose Jaw.

"It’s almost as if you have to wait until things are in the very last stages of their life in order to get attention," she said.

(CHAB, CJME)

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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