Osoyoos Museum has designs on hardware store

Regional district approves letter of understanding that cements the plan to lease Main Street location to museum society

Moving day is probably still a few years down the road, but the Osoyoos Museum Society now has what it needs to seek grant money for improvements to its future home.

Osoyoos-area voters agreed last June to spend $1.2 million to purchase the Home Hardware Building Centre site on Main Street with an eye to moving the Osoyoos Museum there from its current home in an old curling rink.

As the senior government in the area, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen made the purchase with borrowed money that residents in both the town and Area A will pay back through a special tax levy.

After the deal closed, the RDOS signed a five-year lease with Home Hardware, and money from that arrangement is being placed in a special reserve fund that will be used for capital improvements to the Main Street property after the retailer leaves for a site it purchased in an industrial area near the airport.

Last week, the RDOS board approved a letter of understanding with the Osoyoos Museum Society that spells out the two parties’ relationship and cements the plan to eventually lease the site to the society.

That’s important, because it’s a sort of proof of ownership that will allow the society to seek grant money to improve the property, explained president Mat Hassen.

The building centre did not return a call for comment, but Hassen said it’s expected Home Hardware will stay on Main Street for two to three years while its head office decides on a timeline for construction at the new site.

Hassen is expecting a decision this fall or early next year.