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Council Notes — Museum nabs cash for new storage facility

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
October 5th, 2016

The city’s museum society will have to wait to find out if it has secured the $25,000 it asked the city for in order to develop a new storage site in the basement of a nearby building.

Ken Watson, president of the board, and Linda Sawchyn, interim executive director at Touchstones Nelson, asked city council last month to fund the move of the museum’s collection stored at Anderson Street to the Gray Building — located next door to the museum.

On Monday night city council recommended that staff provide a report on the one-time grant of $25,000 to the museum for the purpose of re-locating the archives.

The 402 Anderson facility arose from a 1967 centennial project and was a joint venture between the museum society and the city.

The city agreed to purchase the vacant land for which the museum co-signed the bank loan, and the society raised funds and provided labour and material to construct the building.

Now with the museum located in the old city hall building on Ward and Vernon, the city wishes to gain full possession of the old museum site. But the society still retains a sizable collection at the Anderson site.

However, Touchstones has arranged for a lease of a portion of the Gray Building basement known as the bunker. It has historical value as it was built in the Cold War era as a safe place for certain leading officials to ride out a nuclear war and still contains the remnants of those times.

The city holds a museum storage fund for the museum that now sits at $255,000.

As it now sits, the city and society have arranged a three-way lease with the owners of the Gray Building. This arrangement will result in the city receiving the full fund of $255,000 plus the return of the Anderson building for its own use, including sale, said Watson.

The relocation to the bunker requires additional funds to leverage grants such as the Canada 150 grant for new shelving for the bunker.

City sweeps up curling club request

A request by the city’s curling club for a concrete floor has been supported by the city.

City council passed a resolution to issue a letter of support, as building owner, for the rink floor modifications to the Curling Centre, enabling the Nelson Curling Club to proceed with further development of the project and to pursue funding opportunities.

The Nelson Curling Club (NCC) had requested support from the city to proceed with furthering their plans of a concrete slab project that would enable them to have year-round use of the facility. City staff recommended council support the NCC for the developmental stage of the project, although full project approval was considered premature.

“From a recreation portfolio perspective, it is premature to invest significant dollars without better knowledge of the final vision for the Civic Centre Arena and complex in general,” read a city staff report to council.

The RDCK is in the process of hiring a recreation coordinator who will be investigating the impacts of declining ice usage in the region among other tasks to better understand the recreation needs of the area.

This information would assist the city in long-term decision making with regards to the Civic Arena and complex and other recreation buildings.

Council declined as building owner to approve the rink floor modifications for the curling centre at this time until the recreation coordinator has completed their assessment of the Civic Arena and the larger recreation needs of the community, and the funding required to facilitate these needs are better characterized.

The NCC presented to council at the April 2016 committee of the whole meeting for approval to proceed with sourcing grant funding for a concrete slab project that would enable them to have year-round use of the facility. The NCC has estimated project costs at $250,000.

Upon recommendation by council, the NCC presented to the Recreation Commission at the May meeting. The recreation commission approved a recommendation to support the NCC in their application for grant funding

The NCC is proposing to utilize their resources to undertake this project and secure funding. Therefore the project would have minimal impact to the city’s budget.

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