Submitted by Donny White
The Jasper Centre has appealed for public help two weeks after fierce winds wrecked parts of the historic building’s roof.
During damage assessment, it was discovered that the roof membrane needs fixing – something not covered by insurance.
“This is devastating news,” said Donny White, board chairperson last week. The board is now hoping to raise $60,000 over the next two years for roof repairs and other projects.
It was on Sunday, March 14, that the Jasper Cultural & Historical Centre was damaged by high winds that roared through Maple Creek. A big chunk of the roof fell to the ground.
Since then volunteers have been moving artefacts and documents out of harm’s way amid fears of rainwater leaking into the building. Some upstairs leakage has already been experienced.
The predicament facing the Jasper Centre was spelled out by White in a letter to the Maple Creek News.
In it, he said that Josh Montgomery, from Maple Creek roofing business, was assessing the extent of the damage and a temporary covering had been placed over the worst areas.
“In the process it was discovered the remaining roof is also in need of additional repair work to the membrane covering. It is essential to act quickly with repairs as priceless artefacts and documents are at risk – we are already experiencing some leakage but at present have it contained.”
Although it appears insurance will cover much of the damage caused by wind, said White, the repair to the membrane is not covered and will be very costly – exact amount yet unknown.
“This is devastating news to the board, as we have been strategizing the replacement of the entire front and back entrances to the Centre, including the sidewalk from the street to the entrance and the removal of the fire escapes. In short, they are dangerous and no longer meet health and safety codes. In addition, the board is discussing how to incorporate a new door to the front and a ramp and loading area to rear entrance.”
White said the board hopes to complete the work in two years and was investigating quotes when the damage to the roof occurred.
“It should be noted that this does not include the remaining brick/mortar work to the exterior.
“In order to meet health & safety and building codes, as well as protect the priceless objects inside, the roof, front steps and sidewalk must be completed immediately. Although the exact costs are not yet available for the roof or both the front and back entrances, the Board is hoping to raise $60,000 over two years to tackle these projects. We are also investigating available grants. We expect the price tag could well exceed the amount mentioned, but it is a starting point for the Board which already relies heavily on public support.”
White said the board of directors understands that the community is inundated with fundraising requests – but is asking the people of Maple Creek to dig a little deeper if possible and assist the Centre in raising the necessary funds.
“The Jasper Centre is the Southwest and Maple Creek’s premier year round tourist attraction with approximately 8,000 visitors a year. It provides meeting space for groups & organizations, three galleries for local/regional artists and artisans, 15 museum galleries, as well as a diverse set of programmes, special events and Canada Day. It is the only arts and heritage centre for the entire region.
Please help us keep “The Jasper” a viable and vibrant Centre for all ages and groups.”