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White Rock asked to double museum funding
White Rock Museum & Archives director Paul Oxley was quick to cut to the chase about his reason for appearing before council Monday.
“We’re here to ask for a lot of money,” said Oxley.
Describing the museum as “the jewel of the crown that is the boardwalk of White Rock,” Oxley said annual operating funding – approximately $90,000 – is not enough to enable the museum to keep pace with public expectations and changing technology.
He asked council to more than double the city’s contribution for the coming year to $185,095 – not including an additional $7,000 in targeted funding for the archive.
“We need to be able to show and store the history of White Rock,” he said, noting goals include creating interactive displays – with options for foreign-language visitors – bringing in more travelling shows and providing cultural events.
Oxley said the current budget offers only part-time hours to most staff, and some have been lost to full-time positions in other cities.
Being able to accommodate travelling exhibits could also stimulate the Marine Drive economy during the quieter winter season, he said.
With the requested boost, operating revenues for 2014 are projected at just over $280,000. That includes an increased city grant; money from admission, memberships, donations and gift-shop sales ($18,500); fundraising through the sale of engraved-brass train plaques ($27,000); and endowment interest ($24,000).
Expenses for the year are projected at $280,590 – including $202,560 for operations.
In response to a question from Coun. Helen Fathers, Oxley said other revenue streams being investigated include establishing a coffee shop; as well, there is an idea to raffle off a dedicated parking spot and monthly meal package.
Without a boost from the city, museum officials "will have to renegotiate terms with the city," he said.
The city did contribute a third of the cost of a $1.5 million museum renovation project that was completed in the summer of 2011. The work maximized exhibition, gallery and programming areas; doubled storage space; and added computerized climate controls for exhibition and archival materials.
Coun. Larry Robinson noted the facility's greatest strength and biggest challenge are one and the same: location. It is in a prime spot, but unable to expand further, he said.
When Robinson asked if moving the archival area to another location should be considered, Oxley said it’s a move he supports.
“I believe the best thing for the museum is for that building to be the museum,” he said.
Council voted unanimously to refer Oxley’s report to staff for consideration.