The civic election in Vernon in October will include the referendum on borrowing $25 million towards the building of a Multi-Purpose Cultural Facility for Greater Vernon.
The Regional District of North Okanagan Board last evening approved the referendum.
The loan would be timed to coincide with the $23.8 million borrowed for the construction for Kal Tire Place and the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre coming off the books.
The facility will provide improved space for the art gallery and museum, as well as flexible spaces that will be available to other community organizations struggling to find venues to host their programs and activities.
“Growing Greater Vernon’s cultural capacity allows us to be a community of choice for families, and the impact on jobs, tourism and spending in a vibrant downtown would be significant,” says Bob Fleming. “The timing of construction has been carefully considered for taxpayers so that it dovetails with the completion of other major projects.”
The heart of downtown Vernon has been chosen as the preferred site for the proposed Multi-Purpose Cultural Facility.
After reviewing and analysing numerous publicly owned sites in and around Vernon’s City Centre, Vernon Council supported a part of the Vernon Block, located in the 2900 block between 31st Avenue and 32nd Avenue, as the preferred site.
The city has offered one third of the property for the project at fair market value.
The Vernon Block, which is currently used for parking, has been slated for future development for over a decade.
The Vernon Block is also close to transportation options including the newly constructed 29/30 Street active transportation corridor, the Transit Exchange and municipal and private parking facilities.
“A project of this size and scope can be a catalyst to encourage higher density mixed-use development, which is what we want to see for downtown,” says City of Vernon Mayor, Akbal Mund. “The economic impact of such a development will be significant to existing businesses, surrounding shopping and restaurants, and will encourage more redevelopment in the area”.
The total cost is estimated at 40 million dollars.
Adding to the 25 milliion would be funding through federal and provincial grants, partnership contributions, fundraising and donations.