A major step has been taken in the campaign for a new cultural facility for Vernon.
The Board of Directors of the Regional District has approved a preliminary funding strategy for a 40 million dollar project.
“It basically covers everything that’s related to the cost of building the building and it’s related in 2020 dollars as well, so they’ve added an inflation factor.”
Breaking that down, it is made up of pre-construction and project management costs of $3.34 million, construction costs of $29.38
million, a construction contingency of $5.78 million, and a land purchase contingency of $1.5
Board Chair Bob Fleming tells CJIB News the preliminary plan is for as 58 thousand square foot building.
“There’s two major groups, that being the museum and archives and the art gallery. But there’s also space for other groups and that’s the kind of the ye. It’s supposed to be a multi-use facility that’s accessible for different groups.”
A referendum is proposed to raise most of the money.
“GVAC has said that they’re willing to go to referendum with up to 25 million dollars in public funding, but that’s completely contingent on the other portions coming in.”
Those include $6 million from infrastructure grants, $5 million through partnership contributions, and $4 million through fundraising and donations.
Fleming notes the timing coincides with 23.8 million dollars in debt for Kal Tire Place and the Performing Arts Centre coming off the books.
“That means that you know there could be a, relatively, minor tax impact if this project is started in that 2020-2022 time frame.”
Once a site has been selected, the preliminary concept plan and budget can be adjusted and taken to public consultation, and a timeline for the
project, including all funding requirements, can be developed.
Juliette Cunningham, Chair of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee and City of Vernon Councillor, sees this project as an investment.
“The Greater Vernon cultural facility will be more than a community asset,“it will be an investment in our city. A cultural destination like this will draw people downtown. When more people are downtown people feel safer, restaurants and businesses are busier, and we see a greater economic benefit to our region.”
Tracy Satin, Director and Curator, Greater Vernon Museum and Archives says it’s an exciting time for Vernon and the greater community.
“As eager as we all are, I am happy that the planning process continues to be thoughtful and inclusive. This new facility will launch us all into a new era and provide all of us with a unique space that is much need by the local community and will be a draw for visitors from near and far. As our community continues to become more diverse, it is important to have a place to reflect on our history as well as to build our future.”
Dauna Kennedy, Executive Director, Vernon Public Art Gallery adds
“The process has been long but thorough, and we are now at a place where we can move forward with confidence that we are building an amenity that will meet both the current and future needs of our community. As Greater Vernon continues to grow, so does the need to provide community spaces for connection and creativity. Bringing our two organizations together in the downtown core will create a hub for creative activity and exploration, which will
benefit all aspects of our community.”