It has been a busy year for the Northern Alberta Railway and Historical Museum, (NARHM) located on Highway 2 in McLennan.
In September 2018, Mayor of Falher, Donna Buchinski, McLennan Mayor Michele Fournier, members of both town councils, and NARHM President, Julian Gervais gathered on the deck of the Northern Alberta Railway Station (NAR) for the formal transfer of the keys to the station, from the Town of Falher to the Railway Museum.
Those representing both communities feel strongly that this is a positive development not only for the Railway Museum but also for the entire region.
When the Town of Falher offered the building to the Museum Society, the society recognized the valuable addition the building would be to the museum and immediately set about raising the funds to move the station from its present location on Highway 49 at the entrance to Falher, to the new location in McLennan.
That hard work and determination over the past year, has brought the plan to its realization, with individual donations of money and time, the sales of an historical video, Casino, and just recently, confirmation that the museum’s application for a Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant for $94,415 has been successful.
When the building is setup and operating the relocation will have cost an estimated $140,000 to $150,000, and the museum society now has the necessary funds to complete the project.
Along with the Railway Museum, Smoky River Tourism will operate from the building with each community in the Smoky River region also being represented.
Creating a concession booth that serves coffee and refreshments is also being considered for the newly acquired station building.
Once the parking lot in front of the station is complete, the RV and camper waste disposal facility will move from its current location at the H.W. Fish Arena to the museum parking lot, which will also attract more tourists.
“We pretty well have all our ducks in a row, so now we have to make people proud that they helped us with that building,” says museum president Julian Gervais.
In listing some of those who contributed to the project, Gervais mentions the Town of Falher first, of course, along with the Town of McLennan, the MD of Smoky River, MLA Todd Loewan and the numerous individuals who have donated money and time.
Reg Girard of R.E.K. Contracting in Girouxville is hired to move the building, which Gervais expects will take about half a day to move once the building is mounted on the truck.
“We will begin building a wide approach so Reg can come and turn in with no problems,” says Gervais. “We’ve got a great group of volunteers and that sure helps so, weather permitting, we are going to start prepping the site on August 16 or 17.”
Julian Gervais expects the move to take place sometime in mid-September.