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October 27, 2017 5:45 pm

Railway Museum Pavilion Project ‘On Hold’

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 @ 11:52 AM

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.

The Board  of Directors  for the museum  has decided to delay the  project until there is enough cash on hand to proceed.

(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.”



The city should take the money they give to the Symphony and Theatre Northwest for a couple of years and give it to the railway museum. I bet that a lot more people go to the railway museum than both other venues combined.

    I agree, but that would make sense, city council doesn’t seem to operate on sense.

      It may make sense to you. It would not make sense to TNW and the Symphony, I am sure.

      The museum will keep on operating.

      They simply overstepped their ability to manage a project such as this.

      Again, they were not shovel ready when they accepted one of those federal donations with strings attached. It is a simple one – spend it within a year.

The City and Regional District benefit from the museum as it is an attraction for tourists, yet they don’t have the “capability” of contributing?
Sourcing wood in Squamish, no brainer to cut transportation costs with CN contributing.
I think Duffer’s on to something. The city contributes to symphony, divert it to something everyone can enjoy.

    What I’m saying, in case anyone can’t figure it out, forestry, farming, ranching, Northern Hardware and railway put this town on the map, symphony did nothing.

      This town was put on the map by the railway.

      Without it there would not have been forestry, farming and ranching.

      Without those, all the other services, such schools, hospital, symphony, ice arenas, soccer fields, retail, hospital, medical doctors, etc. would not have happened.

      They are a symbiotic type of relationship. At the moment having all those other associated services is what is is keeping the City going.

      In the meantime, forestry jobs have declined because of tech change and the beginning of a lack of timber.

      Things change!!

Downtown ? Auto fill gotcha . Downturn ? How about crowd funding ?

    Crowd funding??? You mean taxes!!!!! Best crowd funding invention by humans. 10% tithe or more. Used by the Church and by the lords in their castles.

    Or maybe crowd funding as in buying tickets to show support for an event.

    Maybe the Museum would like to build some bleachers and sell tickets to watch the construction? Follow every exciting moment until it builds to a crescendo with the raising of the roof..

I’m sure that one of the major Transportation Companies (Truck) would be able to move these timbers to Prince George at cost or at no cost. This would eliminate the transportation costs.

As for the rest perhaps some company that has made millions in Prince George will step forward and pay for the timbers. Stranger things have happened.

    “This would eliminate the transportation costs.”

    You mean it would remove the cost to the museum.

    The cost remains the same. It just gets carried by other people’s shoulders. Another example of “crowd funding”.

    Isn’t looking at things with another perspective fun?

    Let us just admit it. The museum got into something which was over their heads. They built a project like a house of cards. They were unprepared for a few cards to be blown over. They did not plan for enough contingencies, or maybe none at all.

From some of the pictures I have seen of the project it looks to me like Fir timbers were to be used.Maybe the board could contact a local sawmill,as I have seen many a truckload of processed and decked Fir logs left in the bush because the sawmill would not pay the stumpage.

    So tell us where they are.

I said some transportation company could move the timbers at cost or no cost.

In other words they do it for nothing and absorb the cost. This is then considered as a **freebee** or a contribution. CN Rail could move the timbers for no cost also if they desired.

These types of arrangements have been made between various social groups and business over the years and is not new. There does not need to be a monetary cost to everything that society does.

One has to have good hand eye co-ordination if there lot in life is splitting hairs.

gopg, I like reading your comments as they are usually very informed and balanced, but maybe chill out with the snarkiness. that kind of tone doesn’t add anything to the discussion.

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