The Teamsters Freight Transportation Museum will be relocating to Cloverdale instead of Merritt, despite talk of bringing the vintage truck collection to the Nicola Valley.

Currently located in Port Coquitlam, the transportation collection includes restored trucks built between 1914 and the 1950s, as well as license plates, tools, and other trucking paraphernalia, and is maintained by the Teamsters union who have been actively seeking to hand over the collection to another group’s care.

Early in 2011, Community Futures Nicola Valley and Deanne Parise, then City Economic Development Officer, entered into discussions with the Teamsters and explored the possibility of bringing the museum to Merritt.

When CFNV’s economic development contract ended in late 2011, the City of Merritt was encouraged to take the lead on the opportunity, said Mae Ketter, CFNV economic development co-ordinator in an email.

Mayor Susan Roline and other city officials toured the facility in May 2011; however, late in the year council decided not to support the transportation museum, though Merritt had the opportunity to secure it.

“This potentially valuable tourism product opportunity (valued at over $1 million dollars in assets), was supported by the Chamber of Commerce and CFNV,” said Ketter. “However, the owners of the exhibit required that the municipality sponsor the exhibit by way of a letter committing not to sell or otherwise disperse of the assets, and to house it in an appropriate facility.

“Those conditions were not able to be satisfied in Merritt.”

Instead, the City of Surrey has worked with the Teamsters and the Freight Transportation Museum will likely be relocating to its original home at the Cloverdale Fair Grounds.

While the City of Merritt recognized that the museum would have been one more attraction to offer visitors, councillors could not agree to the conditions, said economic development manager James Umpherson.

“Originally, the city understood we would only have to give a letter of support and provide charitable receipts,” said Umpherson. “When it came to council, they wanted us to provide a facility and insurance, labour and assure them it would run for at least 10 years.

“Based on those conditions, we couldn’t commit to supporting it.”

Umpherson added that if there had been a local group to champion the project, the City would have provided a letter. However, council was not able to provide that level of financial support for the transportation museum.

Though the Teamsters would have liked the collection to come to Merritt, said Ketter, they were excited to have found a home for the collection.