B.C. Maritime Museum executive director David Leverton wants the museum to have a national title back in Bastion Square. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Maritime Museum makes bid to move back into Bastion Square

The museum pitched significant renovations to make its long-time home more accommodating

More than four years since moving out, organizers hope the Maritime Museum of BC will move back into its long-time abode at 28 Bastion Square.

For more than 50 years the Maritime Museum occupied the space, but in 2014 was told by the province, which owns the building, that it was no longer safe and that the museum needed to move out. It’s been located at 634 Humboldt St. since then.

Now the province is reviewing Requests For Interest (RFI) which were submitted by Nov. 15. The province is looking for businesses to move into the 30,000 sq. ft. space, and take on the role of further remediating the 130-year-old building, including extensive seismic upgrades which would cost more than $20 million.

ALSO READ: Victoria’s Maritime Museum seeks national status in Bastion Square

“Over the subsequent five years, RPD [the Real Property Division] undertook work to remediate water infiltration, mould, asbestos, failed plaster, and original wood frame windows. However, the space remains unsuitable for occupancy in its present state,” the province wrote in its RFI request description.

“RPD’s ultimate goal is the optimum utilization of the property. Ideal usage will strike a balance between social, environmental and heritage considerations; provide social, cultural, and economic benefit; and demonstrate value-for-money while minimizing financial risk and preserving the aesthetic and heritage features of this historic building.”

David Leverton, executive director of the Maritime Museum, believes they would be a promising contender.

“There’s a lot of historical significance… In the 1800s shipping was the main way to transport things,” he said. “We have the world’s longest coastline and border three oceans.”

Leverton added that in 1980 the building received national status as the oldest building in BC, and that ideally the Maritime Museum could be moved back in by 2021 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of BC entering the confederation.

This would pair well, he said, with the Museum’s ongoing efforts to attain national status and and become the furthest national museum west of Winnipeg.

For the past four years the Maritime Museum has been looking for the perfect site to accommodate a national collection, but after going through nine possibilities decided moving back to Bastion Square might be the solution– albeit with some significant renovations.

ALSO READ: B.C. Maritime Museum angling for waterfront location, national status

“The only way we could have a really meaningful look at going back to Bastion Square is by adding on an annex, an addition to Boomerang Court which would ad an additional 12,000 sq. ft., ” Leverton said.

Leverton and his team have also been in communication with local arts and culture groups to find out ways they could share the space to make it as accessible as possible. This includes the use of a shared lecture theatre, and and open, multi-purpose space on the first floor.

“It wouldn’t be meeting all of our needs, but we also recognize the importance of collaboration,” Leverton said . “From our standpoint we thought we could find a meaningful way to move forward.”

Leverton believes if the Maritime Museum could get national status, more funding would be available to help with costs. In total, he believes that remediation and opening as a national site would cost $45 million.

Several other RFI’s were also expressed, including an arts hub, a community centre and a private development.

The Downtown Victoria Business Association and the The City of Victoria have both backed the need for a creative arts hub through a third party.

Provincial decisions are set to be announced in the near future.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

Museum

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oak Bay ups deer management budget to $96,100 for 2020

Provincial grant approved for deer contraception program

UPDATED: Indigenous youth occupy B.C. Legislature steps despite court injunction

Police negotiating with people gathered in support of some of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

‘Not the monster everyone thinks’: Sister of human-trafficking suspect speaks out

Trish Kelly’s brother was one of four Vancouver Island residents arrested last month in Saskatchewan

Old Town hotel developer says full retention of historic buildings ‘impossible’

UVic development partner says past renovations, seismic instability are barriers

Battling bullying covers a lot of ground, says Safe Schools manager for Sooke School District

Jamie Adair’s background is tailor-made for the work he does with the… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sex crimes in landmark #MeToo trial

The cases against the Hollywood mogul started the #MeToo movement

Most Read