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Powell River museum requests funding from regional district

Board will consider allocating $204,240 for 2021
FUNDING REQUEST: qathet Regional District finance committee is recommending the regional district supports Powell River Historical Museum and Archives at the same amount as was provided in 2020.

qathet Regional District’s finance committee will be recommending that the regional board approves funding for Powell River Historical Museum and Archives at the same rate as for 2020.

At the February 17 finance committee meeting, Bill Vernon, president of the museum, said what can be said about the past year is it’s been different than any other year and the museum is looking forward to a better year in 2021.

“The museum being a public place, it has been affected in many ways by COVID-19, but we still managed to get a lot of work done that has to be done in a museum, such as archiving,” said Vernon. “The reason why we are here today is to answer any questions you may have about either the budget we’re proposing or the operations at the museum.”

He said a budget had been circulated to the finance committee, along with a report of the activities from 2020.

Electoral Area E director Andrew Fall said he appreciated the report and found it interesting to see the museum had taken advantage of having extra time during the pandemic, focusing efforts on digitization of some resources, in particular, some of the old newspapers.

“I actually went and looked at some of those there,” said Fall. “They are nicely done and I find them really fascinating to read. I just want to thank you for that.”

Museum public engagement coordinator Joëlle Sevigny said an amazing crew of volunteers helped digitize a lot of photos and newspapers. She said they work most days with the staff.

“We’re really appreciative of all of the work they do,” said Sevigny.

Regional district manager of financial services Linda Greenan said she had a discussion with Vernon and in the report forwarded for the annual contribution, the contribution request is a little higher than what the request should be noted as. The contribution request in the report to the finance committee is for $226,800, but Greenan said it should be $204,240, which would then match what was requested in 2020.

Vernon said that was a mistake he made. He said he was working off financial statements as opposed to the amount for the previous year.

“It was our intent to not ask for any more money than we did last year,” said Vernon.

Electoral Area B director Mark Gisborne said he appreciates, as a taxpayer, not seeing a substantial increase, even though 2020 has been challenging for everyone.

“I’m very appreciative of all of the hard work the heritage conservation society has been doing,” said Gisborne.

Vernon said he’s also a taxpayer and agrees with Gisborne.

The committee recommended the regional board include an allocation of $204,240 for Powell River Historical Museum and Archives Association in its 2021 budget of the 2021 to 2025 financial plan.

In the summary of the year in review prepared for the regional district, the museum stated that with the museum needing to close at times to the public, and with reduced visitation due to COVID- 19, the focus of work in 2020 shifted to online research requests. These increased by 80 per cent, according to the report.

There was also focus on the digitizing of records to assist in research requests and updating the website. The organization also focused on organizational improvements and developing a strategic plan for coming years when the museum can once again be fully operational.