PORT McNEILL—Another council meeting, another reversal on the matter of a town heritage registry.
This time, though, it looks as if a registry will stick.
A month after initially approving a request to join the Regional District of Mount Waddington heritage registry, and two weeks after placing a hold on that motion, council voted Mar. 4 to establish its own community heritage registry.
A second motion was approved that will provide up to $2,000 to Port McNeill Museum, which will manage the registry.
Since Port McNeill initially approved a motion Feb. 4 to join the RDMW registry, the RDMW has approved its 2013-14 fiscal budget, meaning the Town could no longer join the registry until 2014 at the earliest.
“The museum came to us with this request for a registry,” said Gaby Wickstrom, the councillor who brought the motions. “Since the first option is no longer available for another year, I would like to move this along for them.”
The heritage registry allows participants to submit letters of significance for culturally significant properties and items, and opens the door to grants to offset costs of procuring, cataloguing and displaying heritage items.
Two electoral areas are currently part of the Regional District’s heritage bylaw. Area D, which includes Woss, is using the registry to secure funding to display the historic steam locomotive 113. Area D, encompasses Coal Harbour, which is preparing a proposal to house and display the one-of-a-kind Hornsby steam crawler tractor.
Port McNeill Museum has also express an interest in the Hornsby, though council was careful to note the heritage registry was not specifically requested for that single item.
“Has there been any discussion with anybody about what we would actually register in our registry,” Mayor Gerry Furney asked.
“No, I thought we would leave that with the museum,” said Wickstrom. “They’re they ones who want to go out and do the grant-writing.”
The additional funding for the museum to administer the heritage registry was necessary, council agreed, as Town staff had neither the training or time to take on the duty. Wickstrom noted council approved the same amount in its original motion to join the RDMW heritage bylaw.
“To make our own bylaw is simple in theory, but registering items is time-consuming for our staff and it’s big load to expect to put on our museum volunteers, even if they are willing to take on that responsibility,” Coun. Gaby Wickstrom said. “So the greatest factor in our decision was the $2,000.”
Council voted to accept the application of three new members for Port McNeill’s volunteer fire department, on the recommendation of chief Chris Walker. The new members are Myles Dempsey, Eliot King and Andrew Murray.
Walker and deputy chief Tasos Baroutis appeared before council to discuss the department’s request for a new air compressor to replace the aging compressor owned by the local diving club, which is located at the fire hall and used jointly by divers and firefighters to fill their oxygen tanks.