There was a great turnout for the Town Hall meeting at the Canadian Canoe Museum last night (May 8th). James Raffan (Executive Director) introduced us to Jon Linton from TCI Management Consultants, whose team will be spearheading this redevelopment in conjunction with Reich & Petch (who have worked with museums in the past such as the Royal Ontario Museum, Canadian Museum of Nature and the Ontario Science Centre); the Architects and Designers; and KCI International (they've already completed successful fundraising efforts here in Peterborough), who will be crafting the fundraising strategy.
Jon Linton mentioned that they were hoping to engage as many people as possible with this study, to help develop the roadmap. By setting five benchmarks, they believe the Museum will prosper...
- Location (visibility, accessibility, etc)
- Good building design
- Exhibits and programming (they believe each year a new program should be introduced to bring people to the museum)
- Economic engine (they would like to pitch the museum as a driving force for Peterborough growth)
- Loyal constituency (membership drive, etc)
The roadmap is as follows: They hope to complete the study by July 2013, which means the board can approve/decline in October; a Business Plan and Schematic Design will be drafted by January 2014; a fundraising campaign can run from March to December of 2014; construction will be from January 2014 to May 2017; and the Grand Opening is estimated to be July 1, 2017.
TCI is hoping to grow the museum on a national level, and attributes the popularity thanks to community pride and the fact that it is a hidden gem. If it is indeed built downtown, it could be a catalyst for downtown growth, and used as a package (i.e. with the art gallery and other neighbouring landmarks) as a package. To do this, they see the need to increase visitors and broaden the audience. The estimated construction cost is $41 million. The annual viewership at the current museum location is 25,000 people and they hope to increase it to 40,000 to 50,000.
TCI is still considering sites outside the downtown area and welcome feedback for alternate locations. One attendee asked if it was possible to consider Peterborough County (such as Hope Mill) instead of the City of Peterborough, and Jon Linton was more than happy to look into the matter as long as it met the five key benchmarks. Essentially, a proposed location had to consist of two key points: A downtown location + waterfront location or an outside location + waterfront location. Trent University was even been brought up in discussion.
Other considerations they envisioned focused on multiple use of the property (such as commercial or condo residences to offset the cost of museum). Downtown revitalization came up time and time again throughout the night and seemed to be key in their plan. Worst case scenario, they are still asking what can be done with the current location?
TCI felt moving the museum out of the Peterborough area would hurt it, although they are quite aware that parking is an issue downtown and that it is difficult to create a connection to a larger outdoors experience there.
Within the groups at our tables, we were asked to answer five questions that pertained to the positives and negatives of locating downtown, and asked for feedback on what we would like to see in a redesigned museum. Some of the popular feedback was...
- A greater connection to the Aboriginals
- Connection to day camps
- More interaction with kids
- Tie in to RT08
- Tie in to canoeing organizations
- A bigger online presence
- Programming to engage all ages
And the one that got the largest chuckle from the crowd...
- Have Justin Trudeau/Justin Bieber make a guest appearance