By David F. Rooney
In a move that has the support of some Revelstoke Arts Council members, Mayor David Raven and City Councillors have decided to offer the long-empty Century Vallens Building — that’s the former pain store next to the Fire Hall — as a potential new home for the Canadian Ski Museum and Ski Hall of Fame which is losing its digs in Ottawa.
“What a welcome boon this could be to Revelstoke,” enthused Councillor Steve Bender.
In a report to Council on Tuesday, Community Economic Development Director Alan Mason said “it would be a good fit for the community given the history of skiing in Revelstoke (which the Museum acknowledges with a separate exhibit on skiing in Revelstoke) and the current development of RMR.”
Arts Council director Neills Kristensen, who alerted Mason to the museum’s need to relocate (it is currently located in the Westboro district of Ottawa, far from the capital’s tourist zones), said “this would be a tremendous opportunity for use all.”
The museum has been soliciting proposals from across the country and if it accepts Revelstoke’s invitation it would bring enough artefacts and exhibits to fill 4,000 square feet. Since the Century Vallens Building contains 5,000 square feet that leaves ample room for expansion.
The main hitch in all of this would be the cost of renovating the Century Vallens Building. It has some structural problems and no one on Council was able — or willing — to say how much that might cost to fix. There are no direct financial implications for the City, Mason said.
Kristensen said active fundraising by the Arts Council could likely raise enough to ensure the building is upgraded and renovated. The museum wants to begin its relocation this autumn.
In his report, Mason noted that Council would not sanction the move to Revelstoke until it is satisfied that the Museum would be financially viable.