Trent Ernst, Editor
The Tumbler Ridge Dinosaur Discovery Gallery was recently awarded a $250,000 grant to support renovations at the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre that also includes the public interpretive exhibits, which showcases British Columbia’s rich collection of dinosaur bones, tracks and other fossils.
The grant came from Northern Development Initiative and Trust (NDIT), with Chair Evan Saugstad making the presentation of a commemorative plaque for the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery to Museum Chair Jim Kincaid.
The grant will be used for building improvements. Rich McCrea, Curator of Palaeontology says the funds will be used for work on the building envelope, as well as fixing up washroom facilities and changing the light fixtures in the building. He admits these aren’t as sexy as new displays, but necessary, a fact that is evident as he leads Saugstad and other representatives from NDIT down a hallway lit by only by one flickering fluorescent tube, casting only a little more light than what falls from the doorway at the end of the hall. “We can’t find the bulbs for these fixtures anymore,” he says. “This grant from Northern Development will go a long way toward improving the quality of the visitor experience at the museum. The planned renovations will also help the museum achieve the necessary standards to continue to house the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre’s ever expanding collection of fossils.”
NDIT’s board of directors approved the grant, which will help cement Tumbler Ridge’s reputation as a UNESCO Global Geopark.
Funds will also be used towards parking lot upgrades and better signage.
This is the fourth time the Trust has invested in the development of the museum, totaling more than $400,000 in grants to date, and NDIT has been working closely with Tumbler Ridge in recent years to help develop a more-sustainable and diversified local economy. “The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation continues to amaze us with their world class work,” says Mayor Don McPherson. “This funding will allow Tumbler Ridge to house even more of the amazing discoveries that are made year after. The work of Dr. McCrea and Museum President Jim Kincaid continue to push Tumbler Ridge into new realms and possibilities. I can’t wait to see what they are able to accomplish next. I want to thank the Trust for continuing to partner with Tumbler Ridge.”
The Trust approved $250,000 in 2014 to support the development of a new tourist information centre in Tumbler Ridge, and has also provided $58,000 in grant funding annually to the District of Tumbler Ridge to hire a local economic development officer and a grant writer.
In 2014, Tumbler Ridge was designated a UNESCO Global Geopark, one of only 120 sites in the world and the only Global Geopark in western North America. The grant approval will help the museum retain its status as the central feature of the Global Geopark.
“Tumbler Ridge is like no other place in British Columbia – its gorgeous landscapes and rich paleontological history makes it one of a kind,” says Saugstad. “It should be on every British Columbian’s ‘must see’ list. The Trust is proud to continue supporting economic diversification in Tumbler Ridge with this grant approval.”
Northern Development Initiative Trust “combines funding with smart thinking to help Northern British Columbia thrive.” The Trust was created for the north and is led by the north. In only a decade, Northern Development has found 2,000 ways to say “yes” to economic diversification in our region, attracting more than $1.2 billion in new investment to the region with nearly $140 million in funding invested in the region since 2005.