Railway Museum Pavilion Project ‘On Hold’
Prince George, B.C. – A project that would protect exhibits at the Railway and Forestry Museum from the elements and provide accessibility for all visitors is on hold.
(rendering of the project at right)
The project had a budget of $1.5 million dollars. The museum has secured $166 thousand of “in-kind” donations, and has already spent $237 thousand on the project that would have seen members of the Timbers Framers Guild build the pavilion.
Board Chair, Lorna Wendling says the Board has decided to “put a pause on the project. We had an unexpected cost to the project and we were concerned about managing the cash flow on the scale that was currently proposed.”
She says the Museum would need between $250 and $300 thousand dollars to move into the next phase.
She says the unexpected cost was for timbers. “We had some wonderful donations of timbers, but we found as we got farther through the project with our project manager , some of the timbers weren’t going to meet the specifications for the project and as a result we were able to source some in Squamish B.C, we weren’t able to source them locally but the cost was a significant surprise to our project manager and to our Board.”
That cost was $156 thousand plus transportation and gst.
The project was supposed to get underway this month, with fabrication. That work would be followed up with actual construction in July.
Putting the project on ‘pause” may cause another headache for the Museum, as it had received a $50 thousand dollar grant to improve accessibility. The condition attached to that money was that the project had to be completed within one year. The delay means that condition cannot be met. “There is a risk that we may have to repay the grant” says Wendling.
She says while the project is on pause, they are working with t Timber Framers Guild to look at options “Which could include postponing the project until next year, or doing a partial portion of the project. At this point, we are just investigating options.”
The Museum had submitted applications for a number of grants, but was denied. Efforts to have the City of Prince George and/or the Regional District contribute to the project, were unsuccessful as neither has the capability of providing cash for a non profit capital expenditure. The Museum is now waiting for details on a capital grant that has been announced from BC Gaming funds. Wendling says the full details of that program and how much might be made available have yet to be received.
“It is extremely disappointing” says Wendling. “We understand it’s a very difficult time for the community with the new softwood lumber tariff being announced, and the economy has been in a downtown in relation to oil and gas activity. So we absolutely understand that our community is trying to conserve cash at this point in time, But we haven’t given up. We are hopeful we will find alternatives and we will pursue things as we can afford to, and we will get there.”