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Museum expansion not a priority for average residents: councillor

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013 06:00 am

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The councillor who brought forward a motion to move the Musée Héritage Museum’s planned expansion to the city budget’s “unfunded” column said her concern isn’t the museum, but the expansion.

“I am fine with how the museum is right now. It’s providing good services and I appreciate it in its current form. And to expand it for $3-million does not seem like a high priority right now when we have other services that seem to me like a higher priority,” said Coun. Sheena Hughes in a follow-up interview.

The proposed project was estimated to cost $2.6 million over 2014 and 2015. In 2014, $362,250 was to be spent on detailed design work, followed by $2.2 million in construction costs in 2015.

On Dec. 10’s budget debate meeting, Hughes made a motion to unfund the museum expansion. The motion followed one by Coun. Cathy Heron to unfund the project until there was a plan to move the finance section and information desk that currently occupies the space the museum would expand into.

Heron’s motion was passed unanimously while Hughes’ motion was passed 4-3.

The costs to move the city departments that operate in the space now weren’t included in the project charter.

Hughes thinks the finance department and information desk are currently in a logical place.

“If (the museum has) storage issues or they need offices, for example, we can address it like we are … the library, where we are doing offsite offices,” she said. “There’s different ways to address their issues without just automatically doing an expansion.”

Hughes has not heard from residents that expanding the museum is a priority.

“I realize that for some people it is a priority but for the people I have gathered my information from, just the average Joe on the street, the expansion isn’t a high priority,” she said.


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