Letter to the editor
Fire Hall #1
The Cranbrook and District Arts Council (CDAC) has been working for several years with the City to redevelop the historic fire hall. Some have said that the City intends to give $500,000 to the CDAC for this purpose. This is untrue and grossly misleading. The City has no intention of giving or lending development money to the CDAC. The City Council has put an item into their Five-year Plan to redevelop one of their buildings .They can’t leave it to deteriorate and it is not marketable, as is. Tearing it down to make a parking lot is 1950’s thinking. The cheapest and most practical option for the city is to spend some money making repairs and have the CDAC raise additional funds through federal grants to develop it as an art gallery. With this goal in mind the Council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the CDAC.
The Arts Council has applied for and received a sizeable grant through the Columbia Basin Trust for an engineering study to establish if the building is sound and to identify needed repairs for use as a public space. The city was spared this expense. Further, the CDAC will apply for large federal and provincial heritage grants for this project. Both Nelson and Fernie have tapped these funds and so can Cranbrook.
Local firms will benefit through the influx of major grants for engineers, architects and builders in completing the project. Downtown businesses will benefit from added traffic coming in to an art gallery in the middle of town.
Cranbrook is a mature community. It is time to discard 1950’s thinking and to look forward to the economic benefits that arts, culture and heritage will bring to our city.
For more facts about the project call me at 426-3399.
Bill McColl CDAC Building Committee Chairman.