City council has made a decision for a temporary solution to house the Lloydminster Cultural and Science Centre which is nearing its end of life.
City staff will be negotiating a 10-year lease for a building to hold and continue LCSC services, programs and displays at a new facility. Studio two, also known as the Saskatchewan Tourism Building, will be used for outdoor displays and by the collection staff.
The new space will not have the Imhoff paintings, the Fuch’s display or the OTS display and pieces still in good condition could be auctioned-off or loaned to other organizations in Lloydminster.
“[Lakeland College] has expressed some interest in the Fuch’s display and [with] the OTS, we’ve been working on some arrangements with Lakeland College,” Mayor Gerald Aalbers says. “Because some of them were donated and the way the policy is set today, we may have to do some wordsmithing to ensure that those displays can be out in the public.”
After the past month, residents have been rallying around Option C which was to build a new facility immediately. However, the option was ruled out as it would cost the city roughly $23 million to build an operate in a 10-year term. Aalbers also mentioned it would cause another tax increase for residents on top of the increases from the wastewater treatment plant and the new firehall.
“It would result in a 3.3 per cent increase in taxes alone just to service the debt to make the payments for the next 20 years. From that perspective, it was something that weighed on councils mind and, with the conversations I had with the public, people weren’t prepared to go into that point.”
An inspection of the current building found many problems and it would cost the city too much to renovate or fix the problems. A date for the demolition of the building has not been determined but it was mentioned in council there may be a celebration before its closing, if allowable. Councillor Aaron Buckingham says safety will always be the priority ahead of any kind of event.
“To me, it comes down to the safety of our staff and the people coming through. You’ve heard about the failing HVAC system and water leaks which oftentimes leads to mold. Is it safe to let people do that kind of thing? That’s something we’re going to have to investigate and come up with a decision on how we’re going to do that or if we’re going to do that.”
Buckingham was pleased to see the response and engagement from the community about the future of the LCSC. He says, while a timeline for a new permanent building hasn’t been set yet, the communities support will be a key factor.
“You look at the Vic Juba Community Theatre. You look at the Servus Sports Centre. The community stepped up and found ways to get things done. We are looking at a long-term lease in the temporary but in council we discussed there’s an option to perhaps expedite that timeline. You could come into grant funding [or] great community support and those things may change the timeline.”
A request for proposal for the new space will go out and the decision will come back to council once city staff have gathered proposals.