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October 27, 2017 6:42 pm

Regional District Decides Not to Decide

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 @ 11:55 AM

Prince George, B.C. – The request  from the Railway Museum  for $100 thousand dollars from the Regional District of Fraser Fort George garnered no decision from the Regional District.

The Museum  made the request  to  move forward on its project to  provide  accessible access to  many of the rail exhibits  and  provide some protection from the elements for those exhibits.

But the  Regional District   has a cultural plan which provides  stable funding to eight  cultural  areas within the  region.   The problem is,  the Regional District doesn’t  provide  capital funding for  those  venues.

There  are a couple of concerns with the request.

First,   if the  request is granted,  will other venues in need of capital  upgrades be  calling for  similar dollars to address their capital needs?.

Director Murry Krause   who is on the Regional District’s Cultural Committee says “Off the top of my head,  it  just doesn’t seem fair” He says while a needs assessment of the cultural venues has  not been done,  there are examples of needs already surfacing,  such as Exploration Place wanting to  increase its holding  area for artifacts.

Then  there is the impact on the tax requisition.   There is nothing in the Regional District’s budget that  would cover this amount,  so the tax requisition would have to be bumped up by .55 percent.  In Prince George,  that means  the tax levy per 100 thousand dollars of assessment would increase from 57.33  to 57.88.

“Have we really looked at everything that is possible?”  asked Director Albert Koehler who wanted  to know if all other possible sources  have been  explored and exhausted.

Director Jeannette Townsend  said the project is worthwhile  and suggested the Canada 150  fund may have dollars available.

The project has an estimated  price tag of $1.2 million,  and  Director Pat Crook says  this request “Is only a drop in the bucket.  The way I look at  it,  there’s still $923 thousand  that  is needed,  and  the project is supposed to start this summer,   that’s  a very short time frame to raise the balance of the funds.”

Museum CEO Ranjit Gill says that  figure is  not accurate, that much of the projected  budget costs are  for “in kind”  donations,  that the actual  outstanding balance is  closer to $300 to $400 thousand..

One other issue is that  the  Railway Museum  has already received $50 thousand dollars  in the form of an accessibility grant.  While  the works have  started,  the  grant  required the project to be complete within a year.  The Railway Museum  has received one extension and  is  in discussion to have that  extension  lengthened.

In the end,  the only decision the Regional District made was to receive the report which outlined the request and the history of  the cultural plan  funding.





“the only decision the Regional District made was to receive the report”

This was a decision? Was there an option to not receive it?

2018 …. What 2017 report?

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