October 23, 2015 - 8:00 PM
VERNON - Greater Vernon residents will head to the polls to vote on a new arena next month.
A referendum is set for Nov. 28 which will ask voters to borrow $13.2 million to decommission the Civic Arena and add a second arena at Kal Tire Place.
“Civic has served its purpose, its time is due,” Vernon mayor Akbal Mund says. “This is the time, we need to move forward and proceed.”
The initiative has been in the works for over two years, but got caught up in red tape with the provincial government. Now that it has a green light from the Ministry of Community Development to hold the referendum, it’s all systems go.
“People are going to start saying they only have five weeks to get all the information they need to make a decision on what they want. The information will be there. We’ve been working on that knowing we were going to have a tight timeline,” Mund says.
A series of open houses will be announced soon to provide voters with information about the proposal.
The mayor expects not everyone will be keen on seeing a tax hike, while others might question how the arena will benefit them directly, particularly if they don’t participate in ice sports.
“You really have to look at the bigger picture and say, who is this for? It’s for your grandchildren,” Mund says.
The Vernon Farmers Market has expressed some concerns about the proposed location of the new arena, but Mund says the location is set and won’t be changing.
“Professionals did the work and decided the best option was to go on the north side,” Mund says.
Meanwhile, the Vernon Public Art Gallery has asked that a new gallery be put on the ballot, but that won’t be happening either.
“We want to make sure we make the right decision and not rush into it,” Mund says. “It’s easy to say, let’s just do it, but you have to make sure it’s done right.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015