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REPORTING · 17th December 2014
Walter McFarlane
Access to the Upper Floor Art Gallery of Kitimat Museum and Archives has been a topic of concern for a number of years now, with plans for an elevator falling off the table as quickly as it goes on for one reason or another.

On Monday, December 08th, at a Special Meeting of Council, the topic was once again brought up with a report to Council. The report said the District of Kitimat is currently assessing District owned facilities. The report is going to include which facilities need to be replaced and it will return to Council when it is complete.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff, Council’s representative to the Museum Board, made a motion to receive the report for information. He asked the District of Kitimat Staff for a background.

Administration expressed this came to him through the CAO a month ago when they were looking at access through an elevator.

“We are doing a building assessment for all the buildings within the District of Kitimat that the District of Kitimat owns. A part of that assessment will be encapsulating what is the best means of access for this particular building, what’s the best means of egress as well,” said Administration.

He expressed the report itself might come back and say the museum is not suitable for an elevator. “We are not in a position staff wise to determine what’s the best way to get up the stairs at this particular building so we are leaving it to professionals to give us recommendations,” said Administration.

Councillor Mary Murphy expressed she is not pleased that the District have been working on this for three years. She looked forward to the report and hoped the building assessment would come to them. She added every committee wants to see something happen with the building.

“I want all the people to have access to all the buildings that we have and enjoy the same thing we enjoy within the community,” said Murphy. She wanted to see the report sped up.

Feldhoff said to the District that the Museum Board wants to have the part of the report which relates to the museum shared with them.

He was told by CAO Ron Poole that the District could plug a figure into the budget. However: “The concern is, we have a number of other facilities that the District owns and we’re trying to put that into perspective,” said Poole.

Poole explained there were a number of problems with the facilities and their concern is it would have to be a priority against everything else which needs to be done. They do want to make the museum accessible.

Feldhoff asked the District to share the report with the museum. He was told they will be included throughout the process.

“I’m hoping that as part of this Council, one of the things we look at down the road, fairly soon, is our major capital investments. New Fire Hall, Museum and City Hall and, of course, we don’t want to spend a whole lot of money on an elevator in there if we’re thinking of possibly replacing the building in the near term future,” said Germuth.

Council was told by Poole that they were hesitant to put an elevator in prior to the report because the report might say the building is too small. They need more information before they make a decision.

The motion was called and carried.
Move the Museum ?
Comment by CEM on 21st December 2014
I realize that the museum is in an ideal location but has it not outgrown this building ? and then have it on one level for all to enjoy.