TUMBLER RIDGE, B.C. – The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation, The Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre and Dinosaur Discovery Gallery has been closed for what the group hopes is only a short period.
In March, the District of Tumbler Ridge denied the groups request for a grant-in-aid of $200,000. On March 8, the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation gave notice to all the staff that the Museum would close do to the District of Tumbler Ridge denying their grant request.
According to the video from March 5, 2018, Tumbler Ridge Council Meeting, Council had requested more information from the Museum Foundation, but the Museum at the time of the meeting had not replied.
During the meeting, Councillor Will Howe said,
“We had a roundtable discussion where all of them were allowed to come down and explain how this works. To me, that was the opportunity for the museum board to come down and explain to us why they need the two hundred thousand dollars. To me, until we get that done, I don’t fully understand it, and I’m not to spend the $200,000.”
Here is video from the March 5, Council meeting where they discuss the grant-in-aid.
In July of 2017, Councillor Caisley requested a notice of motion that said: “THAT the District of Tumbler Ridge informs the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation Council is suspending funding their institution through the Grant in Aid or Fee for Service Policy until conditions are met.”
According to the Council on March 5, 2018, a letter was sent to the Museum Board in July 2017 asking for more information about their budget, and according to Council, the letter had not been answered.
Jerrilyn Schembri, Vice President of the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation, says as far as she knows, the board has complied with everything Council has asked of them.
Schembri says the Museum has been idled.
“Our goal and our desire and hope is the museum will reopen. That we will find funding to provide the same amazing service to people and tourism possibilities.”
The board decided in early March to let go all staff as current funding would only last them until the end of 2018 if they closed the museum.
Council and the Museum Board held a meeting on March 12 to discuss the grant-in-aid further, but as of now, the Museum remains closed.
The board is now working to find alternative funding through grants or corporate donations. Schembri says the Museum is a big part of Tumbler Ridge.
“The museum is a gem of Tumbler Ridge. It’s something people from all over the world come to see.”
Our calls for comment from the District of Tumbler Ridge have not been returned.
The Peace Region Paleontology Research Center and Museum opened in 2003.
The March 12, 2018, District of Taylor Committee Meeting included a presentation from the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation.