An elated Dauna Kennedy after a borrowing referendum for a cultural centre passed by a 59% margin (Kate Bouey Beach Radio photo)
There were cheers of joy late Saturday night, as supporters of a ‘yes’ vote in favour of a Greater Vernon cultural centre finally learned that a majority of voters agreed with them.
A total of 13,207 people made their mark in the referendum which passed by a margin of 7,850 (Yes) to 5,357 No, meaning 59 percent support for the project.
It means the North Okanagan Regional District can borrow up to 25 million dollars for a new cultural centre on a site in downtown Vernon.
Another 15 million dollars will be needed from fundraising and grants for the 40 million dollar complex.
“We just got the phone call…and it’s a yes,” said a delighted Dauna Kennedy, executive director of the Vernon Public Art Gallery, to about 100 cheering people gathered at the current art facility in the parkade. “Thank you, thank you everybody.”
Kennedy told Beach Radio that she had worked for ten years to achieve such a result and that others in the community had worked even longer.
“We’ve done a lot of hard work to put together the right project for our community so coming into (the vote) we felt confident we had what we needed to go forward. The momentum has built and built and built and it’s time.”
Kennedy expressed her thanks to every voter who marked yes on the ballot.
“We’re so excited. Thank you Greater Vernon, thank you everybody that helped make this happen. It’s amazing.”
The referendum question:
Are you in favour of the Regional District of North Okanagan adopting the following bylaws:
– Greater Vernon Cultural Service Establishment Bylaw No. 2785, 2018; and
– Greater Vernon Multi-Purpose Cultural Facility Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 2786, 2018
which authorizes the Regional District of North Okanagan to establish a cultural service and borrow an amount not to exceed twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000) for the purpose of financing a portion of the monies required for the acquisition of lands and construction of a new Multi Purpose Cultural Facility for the Greater Vernon Cultural Service.
Applies to Following Electoral Areas:Referendum (Areas B, C, Vernon and Coldstream)