Revelstoke is one of five applicants bidding to be the new home of the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum – and the decision is expected in the next few months.
For background, read our introductory story from last week.
Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum Director Chris Edgell is the chairperson on a task force that is leading the hunt for the new home for the museum.
He said there were five applicants as of the Mar. 1 deadline. They are Revelstoke, Rossland, B.C., B.C., Whistler, B.C., Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver, B.C. and Mont Tremblant, Que.
He said the reasons for the relocation were size, location and costs. The current home in Ottawa is too small for the exhibit, too expensive to rent and faces too much competition in Ottawa from many other world-class museums. “It’s difficult to focus on the sport of skiing in Ottawa,” he said.
Edgell said the collection was valued at $1.5 million.
“The collection will go to the best presentation, the best situation to sustain the collection and let it grow and get it in front of as many vistiors as possible,” he said in a telephone interview.
“We’re remaining very flexible in terms of what each area can offer,” Edgell said. “I think that’s an important piece of the puzzle because everybody has a different view as to what the whole thing should look like. We’re looking for sustainibility for the future.”
Edgell said any successful bid would likely involve a corporate sponsor.
“Rossland and Revelstoke have an advantage in a way [because] they are museum oriented,” he said. “You’re going to have a better ability to be precise with your budget.”
Edgell said museum expertise would also be an important factor in the relocation decision, saying the successful community would need to have a “reasonable level of curatorship” in town.
He also expressed excitement about the museum’s ability to attract tourists to the town that lands the musuem.
On Feb. 28, Revelstoke city council backed a bid to host the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum here.
“It’s a great thing for Revelstoke,” said Coun. Tony Scarcella when introducing the concept at council’s Feb. 28 regular meeting.
The Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum (CSHOFM) is currently located in Ottawa but is looking for a new home.
In 2011, the museum issued a call for proposals for a new location, and once again renewed the call on Feb. 8, 2012. “We have received serious expressions of interest and proposals are being developed by interested groups,” the organization stated in their second call for proposals.
In their call for proposals, the CSHOFM outlines some specific requests. They want 4,000 or more square feet in a “high traffic” location. They want “significant revenue and in kind contribution to contribute to the projected annual operating costs of $250,000.” They also want to move in by the fall of this year.
Coun. Tony Scarcella said the Century Vallen building was 1,000 square feet more than the 4,000 required.
“At this stage it’s just a proposal,” said Revelstoke economic development director Alan Mason, who presented the plan to council. Mason said feedback from members of the business, arts and tourism communities had been very positive. “People think it’s a great idea – it would be a real feather in our caps if we could attract this.”
Mason said if Revelstoke was selected a business plan would be developed and the operator of the museum would have to be determined. “At the moment we’re just expressing interest,” Mason said.
“So we’re a long ways from taking the skis out of my basement?” joked mayor David Raven.
Coun. Steve Bender felt the museum could be an “unbelievable boon” to Revelstoke, but worried offering the Century Vallen building wouldn’t be putting Revelstoke’s best ski boot forward. He alluded to serious competition from other heavy-hitter ski communities.
In the end, council unanimously approved the plan to make a run to host the museum.
The Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum was formerly known as the Canadian Ski Museum. At their November AGM, the museum’s board of directors adopted the name change.
As its name suggests, the CSHOFM hosts a physical and online museum and also inducts skiers into their hall of fame. Revelstoke ski jumper Nels Nelsen was inducted in to the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in 1983.
A Revelstoke Times Review online poll asked the question, "Would you support a bid to relocate the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum to Revelstoke?" An overwhelming 84 per cent answered "yes."