Steveston net loft building rebuild pegged at $19 million

A replica of the Phoenix Gill Net Loft will be built for $19.44 million.

Richmond city council was looking at options for restoring the historic Steveston building at Tuesday’s committee meeting.

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The plan – which still needs to be approved at a council meeting - increases the already-approved budget of $11 million by about $8 million. This will come from the facilities capital budget.

City staff told council that there is a possibility that the entire building could collapse during repairs as the building continues to deteriorate. Currently, 90 per cent of the piles are rotten.

When the city called for bids on the project, they only received one, which was for $19.44 million.

The plan is to rebuild the historic building, salvaging and reusing as many pieces from the original as possible.

At the committee meeting, council bandied the idea of transforming the Phoenix Gill Net Loft into a museum.

Steves suggested creating a combined museum and arts centre in the net loft.

Coun. Harold Steves pointed out Richmond has been talking about getting a museum since 1978. But since the plan went in the direction of a large-scale museum, it has never got off the ground, he added.

“It’s the idea of a destination museum that we haven’t gotten anything done since 1978 because it’s too expensive,” Steves said.

The Phoenix Gill Net Loft was donated to the city by B.C. Packers and is part of what Steves called “cannery row.”

It is the last remaining building of the historical Phoenix cannery, the oldest in Steveston, and was historically used for repairing and storing fishing nets.

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