Campbell River city council has approved a grant to the Maritime Heritage Centre Society, to help its namesake centre reopen after nearly two years of difficulty.
The decision was made in response to a request to council made in a Nov. 9 letter from Gerrit Keizer, Campbell River Maritime Heritage Society president. In the letter, Keizer said the organization is looking to restart operations, but is hampered by revenue lost since it closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic.
“Our collection is in jeopardy of being lost,” said Keizer, in the letter.
Room rentals represent a large part of the organization’s revenue, previously allowing its operations to be self-sufficient. But rentals stopped first due to COVID-19, then later because of reportedly noisy exterior renovations.
As such, the reopening the Maritime Heritage Centre is challenged by lack of funds and the organization currently having only one staff member, with the rest having been laid off. Reopening is dependent on the continued easing of public health restrictions, construction finishing, and room rentals increasing, said Keizer.
To help bring the centre back to life, the society asked the city to approve $37,500 in grant funding.
In response, city council unanimously approved $40,000 in funding to the organization on Nov. 15, in a motion proposed by Coun. Charlie Cornfield. These funds will be provided from COVID-19 relief funds, which city manager Deborah Sargent said are “fairly discretionary” and are intended to specifically address pandemic-related revenue losses.