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Open Letter - Assent Vote October 15th

On Saturday, October 15th we will be going to the polls to vote in our municipal elections, we will also be asked to vote on the future of the Museum and Geopark.

Dear Residents of the Peace River Regional District,

On Saturday, October 15th we will be going to the polls to vote in our municipal elections. We will be selecting our new mayors and councillors, and PRRD electoral area representatives. We will also be asked to participate in an assent vote for the establishment of new service bylaws. The questions as written are confusing, but we hope you agree the answers are simple.  

The Dinosaur Museum and Global Geopark, both based in Tumbler Ridge, work throughout the region to educate, inspire, and create connections to the lands on which we live. We attract visitors from across Canada and around the world, create and deliver engaging learning experiences, promote sustainable development, promote regional tourism, employ local youth, create volunteer opportunities, and our staff give back through their own volunteer activities with several other organizations throughout the PRRD.

From 2014 - 2020, both organizations received between 40% - 50% of our operational funding from the PRRD through the grant-in-aid program, and as such, you have been contributing to our successes for many years. A policy-related issue was discovered in 2020, and PRRD funding was no longer available for 2021 and 2022. We have survived the last two years on COVID-related relief and re-opening grants, but our capacity to offer programs and replace departed staff has been severely impacted.  

When we analyze the data collected over the last six years, on average only 10% of visitors to the Dinosaur Museum were from Tumbler Ridge. In 2021, 32% of the 8296 visitors to the Visitor Centre, run by the Geopark, were from the PRRD. There is no doubt we are a regional asset with most of our visitors either living throughout the PRRD or travelling through the PRRD and using the services in your communities.

The establishment of a service function bylaw simply means, for a nominal amount of on average $2 - $4 (combined) per household per year, you agree to continue supporting us. We hope you see the value the Dinosaur Museum, the only one in BC, and the Global Geopark, the only one in western North America, bring to the Peace Region. Without your support through a “yes” vote on October 15th, there is a real risk of losing these important regional assets. We are asking for your help now to keep our doors open into the future.


Board Presidents

Al Kangas, Tumbler Ridge UNESCO Global Geopark
Rose Snyder, Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation

Why does regional support matter?

● Regional funding support will keep our doors open.
● It will create operational security resulting in new and diversified investments.
● It will keep Northeast BC fossils in the northeast and be accessible to PRRD residents.
● It will keep programs running with the ability to grow and expand them, providing more educational opportunities for PRRD students.
● It will help us continue to attract tourists from around the world who are searching for premium outdoor adventures in our vast wilderness.
● It will continue to support the diversification of our economy.
● It will help us keep our prestigious UNESCO Global Geopark designation.
● We will be able to attract, employ, and retain experienced professionals.
● It will keep visiting scientists and post-secondary students coming to the northeast to explore and collaborate on research.

What is operational funding?

Operational budgets cover the basics: utilities, telephone and internet, office supplies and software, basic building and grounds maintenance, cleaning, bookkeeping and accounting, insurance, marketing, security, and by far our largest budget item, staff.

Operational funding does not cover medium to large-scale capital improvements or purchases, major equipment purchases, special projects such as new displays and other gallery improvements, camps, education kits, and other program costs. Capital and special projects are funded by grants, sponsorships, and directed donations. In almost all instances, this type of funding generally and specifically excludes operational expenses such as wages and often requires matching funds.

The creation of the Dinosaur Museum and Global Geopark Grant in Aid functions include both operational and capital support. This provides both the security we need to support the continuity of our organizations, and the means to match funds as required by many job creation, special project, and capital investment grants.

More information on the upcoming Assent Votes including the complete bylaws, the questions as they will appear on the ballot, the tax calculator, and background information can be found on the PRRD website.