Regional archives looks to move to Centre 2000, consults county

·2 min read

The South Peace Regional Archives (SPRA) society intends to move from the Grande Prairie Museum in Muskoseepi Park to Centre 2000 in the next few years.

Alyssa Currie, SPRA executive director, approached County of Grande Prairie council during its regular meeting Monday to update council on the proposed move.

“This space is going to give us an opportunity to grow as a separate non-profit (from) Grande Prairie Museum,” Currie said.

“Centre 2000 was built as a regional hub for the community, and I think the archives will be a good fit with those existing services, such as regional tourism.”

SPRA was established in 2000 in the museum, accumulating historical photos, documents and more from the Peace country.

The move won’t take place before 2023, Currie said.

According to SPRA’s presentation, the move will meet needs for greater space and give the archives a dedicated space, adding to a sense of professionalism.

The new location will also allow increased capacity to host programs, which can include new exhibits and activities like scrapbooking classes, she said.

Moreover, the move to Centre 2000 eliminates the flood risk posed by the current proximity to the Muskoseepi reservoir, according to SPRA.

SPRA has never been flooded, but there’ve been “flood scares,” Currie said.

During the 2018 spring melt SPRA was evacuated, and she noted flooding poses a particular danger to paper artifacts.

“You only get one shot to maintain those, and something like a flood can pose a catastrophic risk,” she said.

“The flood evacuation zone is a little too close for our comfort.”

She said the move won’t have any immediate financial impact to the county, but with a larger space there will be implications for long-term operational and capital expenses.

“It’s really important to us that we approach the county now … so all of our funding partners are involved in the process,” she said.

The county contributes approximately $66,700 annually, she said.

The other funding partners are the City of Grande Prairie and municipal districts of Greenview and Spirit River.

The facility would require renovations to accommodate SPRA, which has a building fund to commit $120,000 for this purpose, Currie said.

It’s possible additional funds will be necessary for renovations, she said.

SPRA’s budget may increase by $32,000 per year, including utilities, janitorial expenses and possibly greater staffing needs.

The county’s increased contribution depends on the funding formula based on population and assessment, she said.

Currie said city council recently agreed to their use of Centre 2000.

Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News