It’s one of the busiest tourism centres in the province, but the doors of the Hope Visitor Centre and Museum Complex will remain closed for the foreseeable future, and may never reopen.
Converted from an old RCMP detachment and jail in 1979 by the Hope and District Historical Society, the museum was closed in October 2017 after mould was found under the flooring in the office, and visitor centre staff was relocated to a small Britco trailer that’s now on the property. Then there was flooding due to frozen pipes.
But with the District moving forward in their Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) Program application, a welcoming hub for tourists coming into town is expected.
“Our visitor’s centre should be a showcase, and it’s not,” said Coun. Victor Smith at the District of Hope’s March 11 meeting.
At a previous meeting, Council requested District staff to compile a report outlining the work that was needed to restore the visitor’s centre and museum, which houses thousands of Hope’s historical items.
“This is a good report,” said Coun. Scott Medlock. “It’s detailed enough, (yet) not overwhelming. But I don’t think it’s worth putting money into this building. Like the old saying goes, it’s like throwing good money after bad.”
The report, which assessed the building and property, estimated it would take at least $162,600, which includes a 20 per cent contingency fund, to bring the facility “up to a level that is standard,” said District operations manager, Kevin Dicken.
And with so many aspects of the building having exceeded their life expectancy, such as the roof, which will cost at least $70,000 to replace, Dicken said “This is a list of needs, not wants.”
“Looking at the building (as it currently stands), I’m not willing to put a dime into it,” added Coun. Bob Erickson, saying that for not much more, the District could build an entirely new building.
With most of Council voicing their opinion against fixing the existing tourism centre and museum, Mayor Robb suggested they discuss matters in-camera after the upcoming budget cycle, which begins this week. Options for the future of Hope’s tourism centre and museum will be presented publicly some time after that.