Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett presents a cheque for $45

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett presents a cheque for $45

Community groups get gaming grants

The Cranbrook History Centre is benefiting from a $45,000 grant to help fund museum history program over the summer.

Trevor Crawley

The Cranbrook History Centre is benefiting from a $45,000 grant from the provincial Community Gaming Grant program to help fund museum history program over the summer.

In addition to the Cranbrook History Centre, the Cranbrook Minor Lacrosse Association also received $6,720 for their programming.

“Whether it’s by organizing sporting events or preserving our history, both of these organizations make important contributions to our community,” Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett said. “These grants will help Cranbrook work toward an active future while taking time to celebrate the past.”

The Cranbrook History Museum grant will go towards wages for some staffing, brochures and written material for visitors on the train tours and the Cranbrook museum tour.

“The foundation and the Cranbrook History Centre are grateful to the Province of British Columbia for its continued support,” said Char Murray, Cranbrook History Centre executive director and curator. “The $45,000 Community Gaming Grant assists in the overall operation of our Museum History Program.  The grant allows us to enhance our interpretive and educational program including our historically significant train tours.”

The museum is currently open seven days a week, as foot traffic has ramped up throughout April and May for the summer tourism season.

While the funding from the government goes towards operational costs, the Cranbrook History Centre is starting to generate more and more revenue with the Royal Alexandra Hall. The hall is booked almost every weekend for the next three months for various events, but mostly for weddings, said Murray.

“You had an asset that was unparalleled anywhere that I’m aware of in the interior of B.C. that wasn’t being used because it wasn’t practical,” said Bennett. “We used it as much as we could — I had the joint cabinet meeting there with Alberta and some other soirees over the years and it was a challenging place to use, partly because of the difficulty with food.

Murray said the hall has ‘rejigged’ some of the rules with food and constructed a catering kitchen.

“When we started to develop the catering kitchen, we went to some of the caterers in town—Heidi [Romich]—specifically, and asked what she would require,” Murray said. “So new flooring went in there, we have stainless steel counters, we have a double-sink, and we have a cooler, which has been great.

“…The hall is rocking right now.”

In addition to the community gaming grant, the Cranbrok History Centre is also searching for some emergency funding to help with some of the train cars that have leaking roofs, which was discovered during this past recent rainfall.