McBride’s 521 Main turning the page

by EVAN MATTHEWS

Large machinery outside of 521 Main Street have left many McBride locals wondering about the project’s progress, and the plans to move the library and museum to their new home.

Many of the machines seen working outside were grading the property, according to McBride’s Library Director, Naomi Bella-Boudreau.

“We are very pleased to say the grading has been completed before winter,” Bella-Boudreau says, noting this is the first step in their renovation plan.

The grading of the property, Bella-Boudreau says, means the library will be able to build wheelchair accessible ramps and entrances once grant funding is confirmed; the library will be able to move head with safe storage of certain artifacts during renovations, as well as improve drainage.

“The long-term plan for the museum is to store artifacts in a container outside,” says Bella-Boudreau.

“We needed the grading completed before we can move ahead to set-up the container,” she says.

Currently, artifacts are being stored inside 521 Main as well as in community members’ homes.

The McBride & District Public Library and the Valley Museum & Archives Society have applied for a number of grants to help fund most of the major renovation work — including an application to the Regional District’s Enabling Accessibility Grant Program — Bella- Boudreau says, as the goal is to keep the use of tax dollars, and overall cost, to a minimum.

The two organizations are still waiting to hear on many of the grants.

“We’re told they should know by the end of the year,” says Bella-Boudreau. “Until we know about that funding, we can’t move ahead with the renovations.”

In the meantime, Bella- Boudreau says the Regional District, Library and Museum staff are busy finalizing the drawings, which will form a key part of the competitive bid documents for the renovation project.

The Regional District will be issuing a competitive bid for the renovations to 521 Main Street, Bella- Boudreau says, as the drawings are currently being worked on and will form part of the competitive bid document.

Once the competitive bid is finalized, it will be posted to the Regional District website and B.C. Bid.

“The building will be closed to community programs and events during the renovation period,” says Bella-Boudreau.

“Still, we are excited to be planning the new space, and we look forward to bringing the community improved programs and services within it,” she says.

Bella-Boudreau says local fundraisers like apple pie sales, the harvest supper and plant sale supplement their grant applications.

The fundraising, Bella- Boudreau says, will be used to help finance the renovations not included in the budget for the assent vote, and to help purchase equipment and furnishings.

Those interested in the museum and library’s current space designs are encouraged to check the respective websites for renderings at mcbride. bc.libraries.coop or valleymuseumarchives.ca.

Feedback and suggestions are also being welcomed, she says.

Did you know the Goat could not operate without people buying the newspaper? Subscribe today!