Maritime Museum of B.C. floats unique plan for new building

Museum reveals its intention to pursue a new location – on the water

Having lost the bid to lease the CPR Steamship Terminal, Barry Rolston of the Maritime Museum of B.C. wants the public to know “we’re not going away.”

On Friday, the museum revealed its intention to pursue a new location – on the water.

The idea is to “get a concrete barge … that would be floating somewhere in the Inner Harbour,” said Rolston, the museum’s president.

“The advantage for us of doing that, is that it would be on the water. We want to be able to bring boats to our place.”

He envisions a two-storey building connected to land via a gang plank, functionally similar to the Undersea Gardens attraction. It would have a footprint of between 10,000 to 14,000 square feet.

The next major challenge is negotiating the lease of a water lot, likely from the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. Discussions will begin when GVHA CEO Curtis Grad returns to Canada from a business trip.

Grad was in Florida on Nov. 30 when the Provincial Capital Commission chose his bid from among four to lease the CPR Terminal on Belleville Street.

“We were very disappointed,” said Rolston of the decision. “We’d worked on that for over a year, and that’s a lot of work and a lot of money for a non-profit.”

He admitted financing his new plan will be a challenge. But, he said, “we have a huge issue with costing regardless.”

The museum is currently located in Bastion Square in a facility that doesn’t meet its needs.

“We’re anxious to get moving on this right away,” he said.