By Cindy Filipenko
The Pemberton Museum and Archive Society has appealed to the Village of Pemberton for assistance in completing its physical plan.
The plan calls for the completion of a two-storey building that would house a transportation exhibit and a replica of the 1858 Ft. Pemberton blacksmith shop on the main floor and provide additional office and administration space.
“We need one more building to block out the condos,” joked George Henry, president of the society.
Henry pointed out that the original concept for the museum, on site since 1992, was to create a feeling of being in old Pemberton, a small village. To date, four heritage buildings have been relocated to the site, one new building has been completed and the foundation for the aforementioned proposed two-storey building has been laid.
Changes to the building code, both provincial and municipal, have resulted in the cost of the building escalating substantially. Among the new requirements that are financially encumbering the museum’s plan to move forward are the need for public washrooms within the new building, a geo-technical study, architectural drawings, a sprinkler system and sewer hookups. Henry estimated that the cost of the washrooms, sprinkler system and sewer hookup would be in excess of $55,000.
On the upside, Henry noted that there was an opportunity to have carpentry apprenticeship students at the high school build the wood frame building. He said this would benefit in a number of ways: fundraising dollars could be directed elsewhere, the students would have the opportunity to contribute to the community and the project would sew the seeds of volunteerism.
“The VOP, as the land owners, should have interest in seeing the project go ahead,” he said.
During the 2005 election, a referendum was passed to support a $71,500 tax requisition to offset the museum’s operating expenses. Last year, $45,000 of that allocation was used.
Ongoing funding has meant a dramatic, positive change for the society.
“We don’t have to sell hotdogs to pay the hydro,” quipped Henry.
However, to fully realize its vision Henry said that in the future the PMAS would require the full requisition amount in 2008 and beyond in order to be prepared for upcoming cultural and heritage opportunities. He asked that the VOP support this initiative, as well as aid in expediting the building permit process and help in the promotion of the museum as an attraction, event venue and community gathering place.
Museum director Nicki Madigan outlined the tourism potential of the museum in her address to council, noting that cultural tourism is expected to grow between 13 and 15 per cent worldwide in the next three years, while funding for culture and heritage initiatives over the next five years is available, provided plans are integrated and supported by municipalities.
Henry spoke impassionedly about the position the museum could take in the community.
“We want our museum to be an interactive community resource,” said the retired teacher. He concluded his presentation asking that the VOP commit to helping the museum get through some of the red tape and free up funds for capital expenditures.
Mayor Jordan Sturdy suggested that Henry submit a budget to the Joint Ops Committee and meet with David Allen, director of development services, to go over the issues and explore solutions.