Several coastal communities on Vancouver Island have expressed interest in having the Maritime Museum of B.C. relocate to their municipality, if they can’t find a home in Victoria.
Early this month, the province announced negotiations between the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and the Maritime Museum of B.C. were at an impasse and have asked the museum to vacate their facility in Bastion Square by Sept. 30.
The decision has sent board members scrambling to come up with a solution to house the more than 35,000-artifact collection. But there may be other options if they can’t find a permanent facility in Victoria.
Campbell River Mayor Andy Adams said they’re “very interested” in the idea of moving the maritime museum up island.
“Of course Campbell River would be interested,” said Adams, who grew up in Victoria and has been to the museum several times.
“It would be a natural fit with our existing Maritime Heritage Centre where we have a significant number of maritime artifacts and most notably, the BPC 45, which is the same boat that is on the Canadian $5 bill. We certainly see a natural fit.”
Adams added he hopes to bring the idea to council, but was quick to point out there are a lot of missing pieces of the puzzle that still need to be addressed.
“We would need to know what all is involved, what the square footage is that is required, what’s the plan for operational management and budgets,” he said, noting that their current maritime museum has nearly max out its current space. “Why would we not be interested?”
Port Alberni Mayor Mike Ruttan also expressed interest in the museum that he said would compliment its local maritime museum.
“It’s about what kind of facility they need and trying to make it fit between us and them and I’m sure somehow we can make it happen if they are seriously interested in moving,” said Ruttan.
He said a number of facilitates come to mind, including the Glenwood Centre, a building roughly the size of a two gymnasiums and a few schools that are being closed down that will be vacant at the end of the summer, that could potentially house the museum on a temporary basis.
“It’s really a matter of making the museum come here and see what’s available, but we’d certainly be delighted to have them.”
Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay said they would be open to having a conversation with the maritime museum about the possibility of making the short move from Victoria to Nanaimo.
“Any attractions that people want to visit while they’re here in our community, as well as our own citizens that are property established and presented, they create interest in the community,” he said, adding it would compliment the city’s military museum.