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Grand Forks’ council restores Boundary Museum funding

Funds withheld in late 2021 to go back to the city, following council resolution
The Boundary Museum, pictured atop the Fructova Heritage Site on the western outskirts of Grand Forks, is a repository of the Kettle Valley’s history. Photo: Chris Hammett

City council voted Monday, Feb. 14, to restore funding to the Boundary Museum Society (BMS).

The vote followed a resolution by Coun. Christine Thompson to fund BMS’s $83,2000 fee for service in the upcoming 2022 budget. The resolution, seconded by councilor and former BMS liaison Cathy Korolek, passed unanimously.

Not so for Thompson’s follow-up resolution to return BMS’s last fee for service installment to the city’s coffers. Couns. Thompson, Korolek, Chris Moslin, Neil Krog and Everett Baker voted to roll the roughly $23,000 sum into last year’s revenue surplus, with Mayor Brian Taylor and Coun. Zak Eburne Stoodley voting against.

Taylor said he’d rather decide what to do with the outstanding $23,000 after the new board settles in. Thompson responded that BMS has a $40,000 operating surplus, adding that the interim board had the opportunity to ask for last year’s money if they felt they needed it.

“They didn’t,” Thompson said.

READ MORE: Boundary museum directors resign after AGM held up

READ MORE: Grand Forks city council holds back funding for Boundary Museum

Council voted to withhold the funds in December 2021, following a fee for service request by former board directors who hadn’t prepared the board’s financials. The previous board had meanwhile not held an Annual General Meeting (AGM) in two years, which council felt was inappropriate.

Council restored funding after Monday’s committee of the whole delegation by BMS’s interim treasurer April Lebedoff.

Lebedoff highlighted the previous board’s accomplishments in 2021, including the development of new COVID-19 protocols and an effective reorganization of museum displays.

April Lebedoff, Secretary-Treasurer at the Boundary Museum Society, stands in front of the museum Thursday, Feb. 17. Photo courtesy of April Lebedoff
April Lebedoff, Secretary-Treasurer at the Boundary Museum Society, stands in front of the museum Thursday, Feb. 17. Photo courtesy of April Lebedoff

The museum was open for three weeks last year, drawing a total of 50 visitors. The previous board closed the museum after visitors from out of province became “quite hostile” towards the museum’s lone staff member after being asked to wear face masks, Lebedoff said.

Interim board, interim goals

The interim board hopes to build up the society’s membership ahead of its March AGM, when members will elect a new board. Other goals include boosting the society’s online presence and social media footprint and resurrecting its 2020 strategic plan by museum industry notable Jim Cullen.

The new board will then re-negotiate BMS’s lease with the local Doukhobors’ Union Of Spiritual Communities Of Christ, which owns the museum site. The society’s current lease is set to expire in October, Lebedoff said.

Thanking Lebedoff, Mayor Brian Taylor said he looked forward to a new, managerial approach from the duly elected board.

“I think the time has come to really get the policy-end of the board working. We do have some great volunteers (at the museum) and they’ve done so well over the years. But I think it’s progressive at this to point to separate those two functions.”

BMS took in $130,200 in 2021, the vast majority of which came from the City of Grand Forks. The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s areas C (Christina Lake) and D (rural Grand Forks) kicked in $5,000 and $20,000, according to Lebedoff’s presentation.

Nearly three-quarters of the society’s revenue ($94,000) went to staff wages and benefits, none of which went to the previous board.



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