Photo (L-to-R) Tannis Nelson, Community Services manager, Dauna Kennedy, Vernon Public Art Gallery executive director, Juliette Cunningham, Greater Vernon Advisory Committee chair, Roger Lamoureux, interim executive director Greater Vernon Museum and Archives
A two-month campaign to sell a proposed $40-million cultural centre for Greater Vernon is underway, ahead of an October referendum.
The North Okanagan Regional District’s community services manager Tannis Nelson says staff will be attending over 20 events and dozens of presentations to ensure residents have all of the information before the vote.
“You’ll see us scattered about the Vernon farmers’ market throughout September and October and, I expect, a number of other events,” says Nelson. “The website will keep you up-to-date on other opportunities and the website is www.gvculturalcentre.ca.”
The three-storey structure would house both the museum and art gallery and is slated for the Vernon block, between 31st and 32nd avenues in the downtown.
“Residents of Greater Vernon, so that’s electoral areas B, C, Coldstream and Vernon, will have the opportunity to vote on whether the support borrowing up to $25-million of that project.”
Nelson says the other 15 million needed for the project would come from grants and fundraising.
According to regional district calculations, the average taxpayer would likely have to cough up an extra $48 per year over 20 years for the proposed centre, although that would drop substantially, to $12 dollars per year, once the debt on other projects is paid.
Nelson says 50 percent plus one is needed for the referendum to pass.
Greater Vernon Advisory Committee chair Juliette Cunningham admits the project is expensive but important.
“We haven’t invested in the infrastructure of culture in our community since 1967,” says Cunningham. “That’s a long time ago.”
Cunningham says the project would allow the community to create “a culture heart” and identity.
The first information open house will be held at the Village Green Centre mall on Saturday, September 1st.