The next gallery project is a $30 million dollar renovation of the art gallery that will preserve the original location of the Spencer Mansion.

It will build 1,850 square meters of new gallery space since the current space only allows for about 5 per cent of the galleries treasures to be displayed.

“This is an opportunity to make sure that all the treasures that are here in the gallery are shared with all not only people in our region but all British Columbians and tourists as well its a critical part of our tourism industry as well,” said B.C,’s Finance Minister Carole James.

The Next Gallery project has been in the works since 2009, putting pressure on the government to contribute funding since the gallery’s current facility has reached its capacity and faces substantial infrastructure challenges.

“The last renovation was done in the 80’s and attendance has improved 75 per cent since that time so it puts a lot of wear and tear on the institution we get a lot of tourists that come through here and frankly they’re wearing out the carpets,” said Director of the AGGV Jon Tupper.

The renovations will mean a total floor area increase of 40 per cent to allow more display space and storage for the gallery’s growing collection.

It will also allow for more education programs, and meet modern seismic and environmental standards.

The new building will also include a community auditorium and gathering space, a sculpture garden, cafe and gift shop.

“We have no cafe for example and we will have a cafe and places where people can interact so more social spaces than we typically would have before,” said Tupper.

The federal government is expected to also contribute, and the rest of the money will come from private and corporate donations.

Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2019 and could take up to two years to complete.

Luisa Alvarez