CHCM build­ing in Marys­town de­mol­ished

A part of the his­tory of the Burin Penin­sula re­moved

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - BY COLIN FAR­RELL

Any hope Marys­town and area res­i­dents had of the VOCM sta­tion on the Burin Penin­sula re­open­ing crum­bled along with the build­ing on May 15.

Crews from Wally Drake’s Truck­ing be­gan re­mov­ing items from the build­ing on May 13 in prepa­ra­tion for the de­mo­li­tion on May 15.

Marys­town Mayor Sam Sy­nard said it is a sad day for the town to see the long-stand­ing struc­ture re­moved.

“Is a mixed emo­tion time for sure,” said Sy­nard. “CHCM was such an im­por­tant part of the com­mu­nity and the re­gion.”

CHCM served as a ma­jor ra­dio sta­tion for a ma­jor­ity of ar­eas in the re­gion.

“It played a huge role in Marys­town,” said Sy­nard. “It was re­ally a com­mu­nity based ra­dio sta­tion in our minds,” he said. “It opened in (19)62 and closed in (2016) so for the 54-55 years it played a huge role in the com­mu­nity, so it is a very sad day.”

Sy­nard said the re­ac­tion from peo­ple who were view­ing the de­mo­li­tion was one of dis­ap­point­ment.

“Dis­ap­pointed that it has come down to this, but tech­nol­ogy has changed so rapidly in the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­dus­try,” the Mayor noted. “So it is a pri­vate com­pany who made a pri­vate cor­po­rate de­ci­sion.”

Sy­nard said the com­mu­nity may look into other op­tions for lo­cal broad­cast­ing.

“There may be some other al­ter­na­tives for a not-for-profit com­mu­nity based ra­dio sta­tion,” he said. “They have done that in other com­mu­ni­ties that have lost tra­di­tional ra­dio sta­tions, so we’ll have to see where we go in the very near fu­ture visà-vis com­mu­nity based ra­dio.”

Julie Mitchel, a res­i­dent of the area, said that un­til May 15, res­i­dents had been hop­ing to see the sta­tion opened again.

“I think it is a very sad day,” she said. “I know we lost the lo­cal feed sev­eral months ago and that was bad enough, but while the build­ing was still there there might have been a glim­mer of hope that some­thing could be res­ur­rected there from the com­mu­ni­ca­tions per­spec­tive.”

Mitchell said for the past 55 years CHCM has been the go to sta­tion for peo­ple on the penin­sula.

“It not only pro­vided mu­sic, it pro­vided in­for­ma­tion, it pro­vided very timely in­for­ma­tion,” she said. “For ex­am­ple a few short years ago (dur­ing) hur­ri­cane Igor, it was the sta­tion that ev­ery­body in this area tunes into to get all the lat­est up­dates.”

She un­der­stands that so­cial me­dia now plays a large role in pro­vid­ing peo­ple with in­for­ma­tion, but it is not the same.

“You phys­i­cally got to have that in your hand look­ing at it, where as I could be wash­ing my dishes in the sink and have CHCM on in that back­ground and you were get­ting all that in­for­ma­tion,” she said. “I think we lost a lot.”

Mitchell said a part of the town’s his­tory went with the build­ing.

“Un­less you’re a hun­dred years old, you can’t re­mem­ber a time when it wasn’t there, it was there for­ever,” she said. “I un­der­stand too that the tower will be com­ing down, and the tower is a big part of the land­scape of the Marys­town area.”

COLIN FAR­RELL/ THE SOUTH­ERN GAZETTE

Crews from Wally Drake’s Truck­ing in Marys­town con­ducted the demo of the former CHCM build­ing in Marys­town on Mon­day, May 15.

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