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Gallery 2 construction top-up acknowledgment of good work: curator

The director-curator of Grand Forks Gallery 2 says a funding top-up from the city to repair the Central Avenue building is an acknowledgment of how well the project is being run by the not-for-profit group.

City council agreed last week to spend an extra $67,000 to repair crumbling masonry on the roof of the building, discovered during brickwork cleaning and window restoration on the 111-year-old facility.

The money is coming from the city’s slag sales reserve, which is currently just over $1 million.

In an interview with Vista Radio, Tim van Wijk says they are thrilled with the decision.

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“Council has recognized the good work that we’re doing and has chosen to fully fund the masonry scope of the project so it really demonstrates foresight on their part,” he said.

The city is taking advantage of the scaffolding already being at the site instead of paying for a separate rental for future repairs.

Van Wijk had initially hoped there was enough money from the $320,000 in Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP) grants to do the masonry repairs. But that plan was derailed by a 92 per cent increase in the cost of scaffolding.

Asked whether there’s a chance the gallery would have to come back for even more money, Van Wijk says “absolutely not.”

“We’re about half way through the initial phase of the window restoration, which is removing the paint and so any kind of uncertainties that would have appeared would have shown up by now. So we are firm on that number,” he said.

While the art gallery is a tenant of the city-owned building, Gallery 2 has been leading the project because the CERIP funding is “unheard of in terms of levels of funding for heritage restoration projects” and that the gallery has the capacity to lead the project. In addition to director-curator, Van Wijk noted he has a project management background.

The masonry restoration is expected to start in August and all work should be complete by the end of September.

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