The possibility of selling the city land where the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin currently sits and moving the museum to a temporary location at the Tourism Discovery Centre is back back on the table, confirmed Mayor Walt Cobb Wednesday.
“It’s in the process,” Cobb said of the City accepting an offer from inSite Housing, Hospitality and Heath Services on the city land. “(But) it’s not finalized yet.”
Cobb also confirmed the moving date could be as soon as mid-June, adding the City did discuss the quick possession date with board members.
“They felt it’s possible if they have some help,” he said of moving the museum’s contents. “We have money for that.”
During a regular council meeting last fall, city council announced it had agreed to sell the former Cariboo Lodge property next door to the museum to inSite for $10 as part of a deal to build a 72-bed residential care facility.
At that time the company indicated it also wanted the option to purchase the museum land, however, indicated that wouldn’t happen right away.
Since then, however, Cobb said the Canadian Mental Health Association Cariboo Chilcotin Branch (CMHA) board, which provides services and programs for individuals living with persistent mental illness in the Williams Lake community in one wing of the former Cariboo Lodge, known as the Jubilee House, has a lease which allows them to stay at their site until 2020.
Cobb said that left inSite looking back toward the museum option.
To further add to the dealings, Cobb said another party has since come forward expressing interest in the museum land.
“We have an offer (from inSite) and a letter of request (from another interested party).”
“We are between a rock and a hard place,” Cobb said, explaining that inSite needs either the museum or the Jubilee House space in order to have enough land to move forward with the care facility. “They can’t accommodate both.”
“There is definitely interest in accommodating the seniors. And where we go from there, time will tell.”
Before anything else is done, Cobb said the City is required to advertise the potential sale.
Cobb said the museum is “near and dear” to his heart, and there is a long-term vision to create a heritage park to house a new museum building and the historic 153 Mile Store, which has has been donated to the City. In the meantime he believes museum displays could be up in time for the Williams Lake Stampede at the TDC should the deal go through.