Local politicians are moving ahead with getting more details on a multi use cultural facility for Greater Vernon.
The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee has unanimously approved issuing a request for proposals to look into possible sites and designs, subject to staff getting an indication on possible costs.
Director Doug Dirk says there’s no point proceeding, if they don’t have a ball park amount, which he says is the bottom line with taxpayers.
“It’s important all the way through where you are with costs. You just don’t go open ended with wants and needs. It’s balanced by what you can afford,” Dirk tells Kiss FM.
No specific guideline on an acceptable cost was decided, other than less than 36 million dollars which is what a study done a couple years said an art galley and museum could cost.
Tannis Nelson, community development manager for the Regional District of North Okanagan, told the committee, a cost of $25 million would work out to $41 a year for the average homeowner.
Director Akbal Mund agreed with Dirk, saying they should be able to get a good idea on the cost based on the square footage.
“We need to find out the costs of some of the other ones (cultural facilities) that have been done recently in other communities,” said Mund.
Director Jim Garlick says 30 million dollars would be too much for taxpayers to support in a referendum.
“We need to find out what is doable, because if we bite off too much, the public probably won’t support us,” said Garlick.
GVAC chair Juliette Cunningham didn’t see the need to have a cost estimate at this stage.
“That’s part of what this process is for — it’s to give us the information,” says Cunningham.
Nelson will be determining a “ball park” cost, and checking on communities with similar facilities prior to the next RDNO meeting Aug. 2 or 16.
Directors met in-camera to talk about possible sites.
The most often mentioned is on the former flower shop site on 31st Avenue by Cenotaph Park, and Vernon councillor Brian Quiring also wants to see Polson Park looked at.
Director Mike Macnabb didn’t just want potential sites limited to the “Vernon neighborhood area,” as is mentioned in the outline.
“If we just focus on this area, it might preclude other sites that are cheaper or that provide better value for the taxpayer’s dollar,” said Macnabb.
Dirk told Kiss FM the target date for a referendum on the project — if it gets that far — would be during the next civic elections in November 2018.