UPDATE: 3:50 p.m.
It was a close 3-2 vote, but Vernon city council will allow Vernon Winter Carnival to stay in its 35th Avenue office and with no departure date set in stone.
The society must accept all liability for the old building, without exception, and continue to seek a new location.
Councillors Akbal Mund and Kelly Fehr opposed the amended motion, concerned the city could still be liable in the event of a structural failure.
Mund was particularly opposed to the removal of a condition that would have required a structural assessment be carried out on the aging city-owned structure which staff say is at the end of its life.
“I have no issued with them having the building for as long as they want but we have to make sure the building is safe,” Mund stressed. “We are responsible to the taxpayer.”
Councillor Kari Gares successfully pushed for the removal of the May 1, 2020 deadline at which time the society would have had to vacate the premises.
“We’re basically saying the time is coming, you have to be looking at alternate locations,” Gares said, adding that removal of the date was simply buying “time” for the society to find a suitable and affordable location.
Gares, councillor Scott Anderson and Mayor Victor Cumming voted in favour of the amendments.
Councillors Dalvir Nahal and Brian Quiring did not attend the meeting.
(with files from Kate Bouey)
Vernon council is not making it easy for the Winter Carnival Society to stay in its current office on 35th Avenue.
The City owns the building and wants to tear it down for safety reasons, but will let the cash-strapped society stay in it until May 1, 2020 if it agrees with 11 conditions.
One is to be responsible for all repairs and maintenance, and to accept all liability for the building.
The non profit society will also have to pay for structural building and air quality assessments from qualified professionals, and provide the results to the city each year.
The City also wants the organization to continue to actively seek a new location for their operations.
The issue is on the agenda for this afternoon’s city council meeting.