by Roy Wood
With less than two years until possession, the serious fund raising is about to begin as the Osoyoos Museum and Archives gets ready to move to the current Home Building Centre on Main Street.
Museum board president Mat Hassen told town council Monday morning that $685,000 of the $2.5 million budget is in hand in the form of cash, committed donations and projected income.
Now begins the task of raising the remaining nearly $2 million for the building conversion and exhibit development for the new museum.
Hassen told council that the museum society will approach federal, provincial and regional governments for possible funding along with a list of seven corporations and private foundations that are likely sources.
The funds in hand include: $60,000 in the legacy fund; $125,000 in committed donations from individuals in Osoyoos and area; and a $500,000 capital reserve, which is the accumulation of past and projected rent on the Main Street property.
The town and the regional district bought the site in 2011, thanks to a $1.3-million referendum, for which residents still pay $21 a year.
Plans called for the museum to have moved from the Quonset building near Gyro Park in 2017.
Things were short-circuited, however, when plans for a new Building Centre were put off and the franchise holder threatened closure of the store in the fall of 2015. The town and regional district decided that putting about a dozen Osoyoos residents out of work was too high a price and opted to put the project off for three years.
The museum society is now scheduled to take possession of the building January 1, 2020. Hassen told council Monday he anticipates the new museum will open in the late spring or early summer.
Hassen also outlined a community wish list as the project shifts into high gear. He acknowledged that some area residents have grown sceptical after nearly 10 years of discussion about a new home for the museum.
“We need active community support to turn our vision into reality,” he said. That support includes:
- People, including members of council, willing to champion and promote the project;
- Volunteers to act as hosts or workers at the museum or to join committees, project teams or the board of directors;
- Help to plan, promote and participate in fundraising activities;
- Donations in any amount; and
- Considering bequests to the museum society.
In an interview, Hassen added that the board is seeking a new fundraising chair. He said he has been leading the effort since Martha Collins stepped down. “But I can’t do everything.”
Earlier, museum executive director Kara Burton outlined for council museum activities for 2017, including the One Step Forward, My Osoyoos and Great Osoyoos Day of Adventure programs along with seven open houses and partnerships with UBC Okanagan and the University of Victoria. The programs will continue and grow this year.
As an incidental indication of how desperately a new museum site is needed, Burton mentioned “a very leaky roof,” which has been contained to “one very big drippy spot.”
Burton added that because it is Heritage Week, admission to the museum is free all this week