Presentation to Mayor and Council January 27th, 2008 . Deadline for submissions, Expressions of interest for the use of the school closes February 14, 2008.
Thank you for the opportunity to present this proposal. We are most grateful to you and your predecessors for the confidence shown in our projects, and the resulting funding support. This vision and foresight has allowed us to proceed forward on many fronts.
While there are many benefits to the community, the region and the province from what we are developing, perhaps the most relevant from your perspective is the economic diversification potential. As we have previously discussed, this could prevent a repetition of the near-disaster that befell Tumbler Ridge in 2000.
Part of what you see in our work is the result of years of volunteer effort as a reaction to those desperate times, to provide us as residents of Tumbler Ridge with this diversification prospect. The economic downturn that is hitting some other northern B.C. communities is a timely reminder of the cyclical nature of resource-based community economies.
We have previously articulated to you the scientific significance of the regional and local palaeontological resource, and its heritage value. We do not repeat it in this proposal, other than to mention that despite poor weather conditions we enjoyed an exceptionally productive 2007 summer field season, which provided ample further evidence of the richness and diversity of this resource.
Specific examples include helicopter use to fly over 500 Triassic fish and marine reptile specimens into the PRPRC, and the discovery of new dinosaur bone sites, including the first articulated dinosaur material. We have hopes that this may turn out to be a bonebed, but do not wish to be premature about making such an announcement until we have begun excavation in earnest at this site in 2008.
You are aware of our vision of an internationally significant museum facility in Tumbler Ridge, and the previous studies done in this regard (the Lions Gate Feasibility Study, and the initial Aldrich Pears report). Just last week we enjoyed another very productive and positive week with the Aldrich Pears consulting team, and look forward to their more detailed report and Plan. We hope that this report will allow the leveraging of further funding.
Benefits of a move
Our current situation is that we have outgrown the space in Commercial Park which houses the PRPRC and Dinosaur Discovery Gallery. In a sense this is a good problem to have as it testifies to the success of our work. However, it means that fieldwork and collecting will essentially have to stop if further space cannot be found.
Our current total area is 4,500 sq ft:
?exhibit space: 2,000 sq ft
?collections, preparation & admin
space: 2,000 sq ft
?unheated storage space: 500 sq ft
The Claude Galibois facility would provide a total area of around 30,000 sq ft:
? exhibit space: 6,000 sq ft
? collections: 12,000 sq ft
? preparation: 3,000 sq ft
? services: 1,500 sq ft
? education: 1,200 sq ft
? administration: 1,500 sq ft
? storage: 2,100 sq ft
? fabrication:1, 500 sq ft
? research: 1,200 sq ft
As a result, once we were aware that Claude Galibois School was to be put up for sale, we presented an outline for the use of this school to house these facilities to the Museum Development Committee on 26 July 2007. We have appreciated the efforts that you have subsequently gone to in order to acquire Claude Galibois School.
Our Curator, Rich McCrea, will provide a more detailed plan of how we envisage this building being utilized for these purposes. It is impossible to stress enough the potential importance of such a move, and how it would benefit us, Tumbler Ridge, and the region. This is likely the only opportunity we will ever have to develop our products in so ideal a fashion, and increase the chances of our ultimate success.
It would provide an interim facility of intermediate size, which would allow us to further develop our projects and programs, and our research and exhibits, which could lead smoothly into the creation of the final facility. By using the term ?interim? we do not imply that these facilities will be at anything less than the standard for which we have come to be known.
We believe that our established track record is important. What we achieved in our current space in a warehouse in Commercial Park has been widely praised as near-miraculous. We achieved this standard with a low budget, and intentionally kept everything mobile. This would allow an easy move of our currents assets and exhibits into Claude Galibois. The proposed new facility would essentially allow us to do the same, on a much larger scale, again striving to keep costs down while keeping the products mobile to allow the eventual move to the final museum.
The likelihood is that the use of Claude Galibois would be as an interim facility for up to ten years. This is the estimated time it may take to successfully fundraise for and construct the final museum.
Use of the Claude Galibois space will also provide us with the opportunity to bring in traveling exhibits of a high standard, which would complement our other themes (First Nations, archaeology, natural history etc). Our understanding is also that rezoning would not be required for our proposed use of the building.
These larger premises would undoubtedly act as a further catalyst for funding support, and will help in the task of convincing the provincial and federal governments of their financial obligations to the scientific and heritage components of our work.
Costs, and further funding partners
It has been recognized that there will be costs associated with the renovation of the building. It is likely that the costs of renovating for our proposed use of the building should be substantially lower than most other potential uses (energy efficiency will likely be improved by our removing partitions).
In summary, the specific renovations that would be required would include:
1. Demolition of partitions
2. Paint stripping, and preparation and sealing of hardwood floor in gallery
3. Removal of extraneous wall structures in gallery
4. Painting of gallery walls
5. Removal of refuse from above activities
6. Establishment of partitions around collections and research areas
7. Installation of partitioned security system.
8. Installation of external and internal bay doors 8′ high x 10′ wide
9. External security bars on office windows and permanent brick fill on others.
10. Installation of power air vent system for preparation areas
11. Fume hoods and associated ventilation for Chemical Prep lab
12. Installation refrigeration system for small walk in storage area
13. Construction of mezzanine in display gallery
14. Murals for outside of building
15. Parts of the floor in the collections area may require reinforcing.
Given the costs involved, we are therefore fortunate in that we are aware of a number of very positive funding and partnering opportunities that may present themselves, which would significantly reduce the local costs.
Some of these include:
1)Pine Beetle Funding. Our expression of interest to Western Diversification for a $300 000 project, entitled ?Augmentation of the TRMF?s Dinosaur Discovery Gallery? was one of only two from north-
eastern BC that was accepted, and has been referred on to the next level. Our understanding is our chances of obtaining this funding are outstanding.
2)NDI Trust has already indicated that renovation costs for a facility like Claude Galibois are something it would look at supporting. NDI Trust is aware that we will be submitting a proposal at some point, and has indicated that they are eagerly awaiting it, as they realize the importance of our project for northern BC. The Aldrich Pears report should allow such an application to be made within a few months.
3)Some of the major industries have indicated that once such a facility is developed, major funding will be forthcoming. Seven-figure numbers have been touted.
4)At the Museum Development Committee, we frequently discuss the need to expand our funding base, and are coming up with a number of further innovative approaches to decrease the relative burden for this economic development for the District of Tumbler Ridge. Our MLA, Blair Lekstrom, is also actively pursuing funding on our behalf at both a provincial government and a university level as well as through his contacts with industry.
5)The provincial Ministry of Economic Development is again looking at further support for our projects including the upgrading of the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery, in the $40 000 range.
We are not aware of any other Tumbler Ridge initiative that has the same power to transform our community and lead it into a safer future. The benefits we brought to Tumbler Ridge in the ?down years? are one of the reasons our community survived. We are deeply appreciative of your historic support and encouragement. We see the potential use of Claude Galibois School as an amazing and unique opportunity to expand our projects to the next level, and to catalyze our shared ultimate goal.
Thank you again for considering this proposal.
Dave Price, TRMF President
Charles Helm, TRMF Past President