The installation of a lift at the Kitimat Museum and Archives will make it possible for people with mobility issues to gain access to its second floor, says Louise Avery, the facility’s curator.
Right now there is no practical way for people in wheelchairs or those using crutches or walkers to view the ever-changing exhibits on the second floor, she says.
And with exhibits changing every four to six weeks, a segment of the community doesn’t have the opportunity to view those exhibits and the information each one contains, she adds.
“We do try to get travelling exhibits from other museums and other places,” said Avery of the museum’s goal of offering constantly refreshed temporary exhibits.
“Improving access has been our goal for a number of years now,” said Avery of the museum board’s long-standing desire for a lift or elevator to the District of Kitimat-owned structure’s second floor.
The prospect of a lift or elevator has now increased with a general desire by the District of Kitimat to improve accessibility within all of its buildings.
And the possibility has now taken the form of the Kitimat council agreeing to pay half of the estimated $140,00—$165,000 project’s cost, provided the museum be successful in receiving a provincial gaming grant for the other half.
The museum board has now applied for the grant and, if succesful, the project could get underway next year, says Alex Ramos, the district’s engineering director.
He described the lift as a mini-elevator, in that it would be enclosed, have a door and be large enough to hold a person in a wheelchair and another person.
“It would be installed on the west side [of the building],” said Ramos.
The projected cost includes the lift’s purchase cost and its installation, along with renovations needed.
Part of the work needed would be to break through a portion of the second floor which is made out of concrete, Ramos added.
The lift system as identified by the District of Kitimat has a safety brake and a backup battery so that it can be lowered should the main power supply ever fail.
Avery said the lift would also be useful in moving temporary exhibit material to and from the building’s second floor.
The Kitimat Museum and Archives structure dates back to the mid-1960s when it was constructed as a project to celebrate 1967 as Canada’s centennial year. It was opened in the fall of 1969.