City ponders Station House Gallery re-location

City council approved a plan to apply for funding to address the future of the Station House Gallery Tuesday night.

  • Jan. 13, 2011 6:00 a.m.
The Station House Gallery on Mackenzie Avenue is one of the oldest buildings in Williams Lake. It needs repair and a new foundation. The City is also considering moving it to a higher-profile location.

The Station House Gallery on Mackenzie Avenue is one of the oldest buildings in Williams Lake. It needs repair and a new foundation. The City is also considering moving it to a higher-profile location.

City council approved a plan to apply for funding to address the future of the Station House Gallery Tuesday night.

Applying to the Towns of Tomorrow program, the City committed to cover up to 25 per cent of the cost of the $375,000 grant subject to City budget approval.

If the grant is approved, council will have to determine whether and how to proceed.

According to city chief administrative officer Brian Carruthers, the option is either to purchase the property from B.C. Rail that the gallery sits on and upgrade it onsite, or move the gallery to the empty lot beside the RBC Royal Bank and upgrade the facility there.

The City has been in discussions with RBC Royal Bank for use of that property on the corner of Borland Street and Fourth Avenue North.

If moved to that site, the Station House Gallery would complete a central cultural area with the museum and arts centre.

Either option would be undertaken with the intent of preserving the Station House building, one of the oldest in Williams Lake. Whether the building is moved or not, it would require a retrofit and a new foundation, Carruthers said. For now, the decision to move the building remains hypothetical, but some councillors are already staking out ground on the issue.

“Not only is it a historic building but it’s a historic site,” Coun. Tom Barr said. “I think it could be beautified up and left where it is.”

Coun. Geoff Bourdon agreed.

“I love the site where it is now tied to the tracks,” he said.

Carruthers clarified that the building on Mackenzie Avenue does not have to be moved. Moving it was a suggestion to address structural deficiencies, improve patronage and address the ongoing viability of the business.

“From my experience it was hard to get people in the door,” said Coun. Sue Zacharias of the current location. “I think it would be a good move. I like the idea of a cultural centre.”

The City has already budgetted $60,000 for the project.