KENSINGTON – Kensington’s landmark Government of Canada building has officially been sold, in a move that will see the town’s army cadet corps displaced to Slemon Park.
P.E.I. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan confirmed Tuesday that the federal government has sold the historic building, which houses Kensington’s post office along with the group of 25 cadets.
The corps will now spread most of activities between the existing air and sea cadet facilities at Slemon Park and the Kensington Legion, while still maintaining storage space in the basement of the Government of Canada building.
Jim Spears, president of the Army Cadet League of Canada’s P.E.I. Branch, said the Kensington cadets knew the move would happen sooner or later due to federal downsizing.
“This is the third time that they’ve tried to evict us from that building, and the previous two times we were able to elicit the support of both the local community, the local MP, Wayne Easter, and Wes Sheridan and the premier to turn it around,” said Spears.
“This time they just came out and said, ‘It’s sold, you’re out of there.’ We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know when.”
The building, which sits on Kensington’s main intersection, was constructed in 1954 and is recognized as a provincial historic place for its asymmetrical design, brickwork and cube-shaped clock.
But the feds had listed the post office as surplus and were prepared to either destroy it or sell it.
Sheridan said he did not wish to comment much on the building’s future because the P.E.I. government is not the purchaser, but said a “new, exciting” use would be announced this month by the new ownership.
“We were able to ensure that it’s going to stay as is, and the post office will stay in that location,” he said. “It’s an important building in the town, probably the landmark in the town, and it’s important that we maintain the post office services there.”
Sheridan added that he personally concerned himself with finding a new home for the cadet corps, which occupied the top floor above the post office. Ultimately, he said, the corps will have more space at Slemon Park and the Legion.
“I’ve been involved with (the cadets) for a number of years now, and I just wanted to make sure they had a soft landing,” he said. “There are some things they are excited about going to Slemon Park over… and it’ll be a combination of different buildings, and I think it’ll work out very well.”
Meanwhile, the cadets will begin moving some of their gear to Slemon Park this weekend.
Although the former base is also home to Summerside’s air and sea cadets, Spears said the move will work.
“They didn’t want to leave Kensington, and Mayor (Gordon) Coffin indicated, and so did Minister Sheridan, that they would be looking for someplace that would be more appropriate (in Kensington),” he said. “In the meantime, Branch 9 of the Royal Canadian Legion is very supportive of the corps and they will continue to sponsor it, so they will retain the designation as 1231 Kensington Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps.”