Thursday morning, Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks, BC Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko, and Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore were on hand at the Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre to announce that the museum and the Friends of the Rossland Range are both recipients of Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program grants.
The Rossland Museum will receive $175,000 towards phase one of its renewal project, which includes remodeling the entrance gallery, and installing a new exhibit space.
The Friends of the Rossland Range will receive $85,000 to upgrade the Rossland Range Recreation Site. This project includes dismantling unauthorized structures, installing signs, upgrading trails, and restoring the Old Glory forest outlook station.
The Canada 150 program was introduced by the federal government to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary by investing in infrastructure “projects that celebrate our shared heritage, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for Canadians.”
Libby Martin, president of the museum’s board, explained that the renewal project is the result of an advisory board that formed in 2012, after the mining tour closed down. She said it’s been a long road, but now that they’ve received the grant, the beginning of phase one is within reach.
“With this grant, and the subsequent CBT commitment, [and] some of our recent fundraising efforts, we’ve secured at least $355,000 toward our total phase one project budget of $400,000,” she said.
Kim Deane, chair of Friends of the Rossland Range, thanked the federal government for the grant, and also for those who’ve supported the site over the years.
“We think this is a great fit for Canada’s 150th birthday celebration,” he said. “It really is a genuine, authentic Canadian wilderness experience that we’re going to establish there and secure for the longterm.”
Wilks congratulated both groups for putting together great applications.
Atamanenko made a surprise appearance at the announcement, with a few friendly remarks for Wilks.
“David and I, we collaborate on a number of issues,” said Atamanenko. “If you’ve ever watched in the house you’ve probably seen that I cross the floor and sit with him sometimes, and he comes and sits with me, and we’ve worked on files such as the Castlegar airport, and others.”
Atamanenko also acknowledged that though the BC Southern Interior is an opposition riding, the area still receives its “fare share of money,” and he was uncritical of the timing of the announcement.
“Sometimes announcements are made before elections at times, that doesn’t matter,” he said. “The fact is the money is there. We get it because of the people on the ground, so I’m really happy for this community.”
Both the City of Rossland and the Rossland Library also applied for Canada 150 grants. The City of Rossland applied for funding to restore the Miners’ Hall, and the library applied for money for its renovation, but neither organization received Canada 150 funding.
“We will have other opportunities in the future to apply for more grant funding for those projects,” said Moore.