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Museum short $80,000 for coming year

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
January 26th, 2012

Society directors came to Grand Forks city council Monday night seeking a commitment of $80,000 for the survival of the Boundary Museum.

Christine Thompson, past city councillor and director with the museum, attended the council meeting along with fellow board members to present their case on Jan. 23. The society submitted a report on the museum’s work in the last year and looking forward to their coming budget.

“Without the continued support from the City of Grand Forks and the Regional district areas C and D, we would not have been able to accomplish what we have over the last three years,” said Thompson.

“Operating the museum and archives requires funding. And that is why we are here tonight. Without continued support from the city, the services we want to provide to the public will be severely restricted.”

The museum’s report to council detailed the work accomplished in the past year: the development of the Fructova heritage site; care and restoration of the community archives; managing displays at Gyro Park, Hardy Mountain Doukhobor Village, Gallery 2, Christina Lake Welcome Centre; Saddle Lake restoration, and collaboration with other local groups.

Their budget for services is estimated to total $122,170 for 2012. Thompson said that they have firm commitments of $25,000 from the regional district areas, and a grant application for summer students to help staff the site for the busy tourist season, but they are left with an $80,000 shortfall.

Council committed $30,000 in 2009, $13,000 in 2010 and $50,000 in 2011. The society is looking for an operating agreement with the city to solidify their relationship and to ensure the continuation of museum services. Thompson noted that in order to secure the needed employees, the additional support from the city is critical.

“If we are unsuccessful in receiving approval, then we may be restricted in our hours of operation and services provided,” Thompson added. “We are certain that you understand one employee cannot do it all.”

The museum lost access to provincial museums funding when the city locked them out of their building over four years ago. Without an ongoing service, they were unable to continue to apply for the funding available for museum services. Now, they are in a queue to restore that grant. In the meantime, local government funding is a critical piece of their operations.

Council received Thompson’s presentation and referred the society’s request to their budget process.