Station House move on hold, grant denied

Diane Toop characterizes the process the Station House Gallery and Giftshop has undergone in the past months as “belt tightening.”

Diane Toop characterizes the process the Station House Gallery and Giftshop has undergone in the past months as “belt tightening.”

The process was intended to help the gallery survive until it received word on a grant that the City of Williams Lake had applied for to partially fund the facility’s relocation downtown near the Museum of the Cariboo-Chilcotin and the Central Cariboo Arts Centre.

Now, with news the grant application has been denied, the gallery will continue with cost-saving measures and embark on new fundraisers as it waits for the City’s next move, says Toop, gallery manager. On Friday, the City announced the relocation and renovation of the Station House Gallery and Giftshop would not be completed in 2011 due to its inability to secure a grant of $375,000 from the provincial Towns of Tomorrow program. When council agreed to the gallery’s relocation earlier this year, it stipulated that any move was contingent on the receipt of a grant from the program.

“We’re disappointed we didn’t receive the grant,” said Mayor Kerry Cook in a prepared release.

“Council feels relocating and improving the gallery would benefit both it and the community but we always have to keep financial implications in mind. As such, the project will not proceed this year.”

The City had earmarked $260,000 in the 2011 budget for the relocation and renovation pending a successful grant application. That money, says the City, will remain in the budget for any future decisions regarding the Station House.

In the face of the news, Toop remains hopeful.

“We have complete faith that the City is going to do everything it can to make the project go ahead and will continue to seek out grants for us and that they know how important that the gallery is and that we need to be somewhere we’re more visible,” she says. Toop says to meet costs the gallery has downsized and eliminated some payroll demands. As well, it has reevaluated many of its suppliers in order to secure the greatest value.

“We really did our homework on all of this. In the past six months we’ve really tightened up,” she says. “We didn’t know how long it was going to take.”

To generate more revenue the gallery is proceeding with a fundraiser July 8 to help raise operating funds. The gallery currently operates without one-third of its former budget that used to come from gaming grants. Toop says there is gaming money for the gallery to run its children’s arts programs but not to cover its operating costs. For more information on the fundraiser visit www.stationhousegallery.ca.

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