Smithers residents Harvey and Corry Tremblay have pledged to match community donations to the Smithers Library-Gallery project up to $1 million.
The plan now is to ask the Province for about 80 per cent rather than 90 per cent of the estimated $15.872-million capital cost, according to Mayor Taylor Bachrach.
Smithers would borrow $1 million (if approved in a referendum or alternative approval process and the new council to be elected Saturday agrees), The Tremblays would give $1 million, and fundraising would cover the last million.
“We raised our kids in this community and built our business here. We see this project as an opportunity to give back in a way that benefits Bulkley Valley families and contributes to the vitality of the community,” said Harvey Tremblay in a media release. “We are challenging the community to join us in supporting the project by raising an additional $1 million in donations.”
“The Smithers Public Library and Smithers Art Gallery are dynamic, growing organizations in need of new space,” said Corry Tremblay in the release. “The combined Library-Gallery building will both support their growth and allow them to better serve all members of our community for decades to come.”
The Tremblays’ donation means the Town of Smithers will only have to borrow $1 million instead of the $1.5 million in the 90 per cent funding plan.
Bachrach said it also strengthens the Town’s application for provincial and federal funds. He added he was confident the community would raise the rest, and that it was not necessary to get it all in time for the grant’s January deadline.
The scope of the project is not expected to change, though a possible inclusion of Smithers Exploration Group (SEG) would add a bit to the building at SEG’s expense. Their involvement is not a done deal.
The release said the Tremblays founded Smithers company Hy-Tech Drilling in 1991 and grew the company from a single diamond drill to a fleet of more than 50 drills operating throughout Canada, Europe, Alaska and South America.
The library/gallery building is proposed to be built in Veterans’ Peace Park at the end of Main Street. Urban Arts Architecture completed a concept design and business plan for the project in September.
The Town will be applying for provincial and federal funding under the Rural and Northern Communities Program in January. The Program has a $95-million pot for B.C. communities with populations under 25,000.