A report to Castlegar City Council pertaining to cultural and civic pride was delivered on May 8 by director of corporate services Carolyn Rempel. The subject was the renewal of cultural agreements between the City and three local societies and it received council approval at the meeting of May 20.
The report outlines how the civic contribution toward the operation of the Kootenay Gallery of Art, The Doukhobor Discovery Centre and the Castlegar and District Heritage Society (Museum) had been recommended to rise to $41,400 for the term of January 1, 2014 to October 31, 2016. The amount compares with $40,800 for the 2011-2013 four-way agreement.
Pictured below: Doukhobor Discovery Centre
The funding continuation reflects in hard terms the City’s opinion of the contributions made by the groups, a demonstration not lost on the groups involved.
“It’s a huge help for us because all of the organizations are in aging buildings,” stated Val Field, executive director of the Kootenay Gallery of Art. “It really helps with maintaining them, keeping them in good shape.
“It’s very important funding to us, and we really appreciate the support, and that they recognize the value of all the cultural organizations. We’re really lucky to have such a proactive municipal government.”
Lisa Poznikoff, Administrator at the Doukhobor Discovery Centre, says there are definite plans for the funds headed toward the centre.
“We need to put an HVAC system into our main building,” she related on May 23. “We’ll probably use that to help fund that project.”
Modern heating and ventilation equipment will be a marked improvement at the popular Ootischenia attraction.
“There are some kind of fans down there but they’re outdated,” Poznikoff continued. “We’re going to put in a proper system.”
The upgrade will possibly enhance the visitor experience, but as for the main benefit, as the administrator described. “It will dry out the basement so we can properly store the artifacts. It’s a typical damp, musty basement.”
Pictured below: Castlegar and District Heritage Society Museum
Deb McIntosh of the Castlegar and District Heritage Society was equally as appreciative of the financial backing.
“We’re extremely grateful that the City of Castlegar sees the importance of arts, culture and heritage in the area, “said McIntosh, “and supports it so wholeheartedly.
“Right now what we’re focusing on is doing some structural stuff. We’ve got to get the deck replaced, there are some gardening ties that need to be redone, so that’s where the capital money will be going. A long-term project we have to look at is doing the upper, outside floor of the museum. The stucco needs to be redone.
“It’ll be nice to get that done, to give it a nice, fresh look… and bring more people in.”
What’s expected from the cultural groups in return for the City’s monetary support is the timely delivery of receipts for work done, information such as agendas for upcoming meetings, as well as minutes from completed meetings. There is also the stipulation that each entity must be open to the public for no fewer than 1,000 hours between the dates of April 1 and October 31 of each of the three years covered in the deal.
“We all know the museums (Doukhobor and downtown) are huge parts of history in this area,” said councillor Dan Rye on May 26, “so they’ve got to stay there, obviously. Arts and culture are playing a big part in our community, you can see that with (Castlegar) Sculpturewalk and Artwalk… huge events that attract a lot of people into the area. I just feel that in the future we should continue to support those types of ventures.”