December 10, 2015 - 4:31 PM
VERNON - A large outdoor amphitheatre is being proposed for the Vernon campus of Okanagan College.
The Okanagan Summer Festival Society proposed the amphitheatre, which would accommodate up to 5,500 people, at a Greater Vernon Advisory Council meeting Thursday, Dec. 10.
“We see the opportunity to develop a significant addition to the cultural infrastructure of our valley at a site that has incredible views and that would showcase not just world class performers but also world class scenery,” managing director Diane Bond said in a media release.
The group has been seeking a venue to accommodate large performing groups, such as symphony orchestras and dance companies, for some time. It has been working with Okanagan College with the Vernon campus site in mind since 2011. The amphitheatre would take advantage of campus topography, most notably a coulee that has not figured into long term development plans for the institution.
The society has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the college’s board of governors authorizing the society to continue developing the idea. The expectation is that the society would be wholly responsible for building and operating the facility on the college’s property in Coldstream under a long-term lease.
“We expect all due diligence and funding arrangements would be in place before any final agreement is signed by the college,” Jane Lister, the College’s Regional Dean for the North Okanagan said in the release. “Next steps in the process include consultation with our neighbours, the municipality, First Nations, and completion of any engineering or environmental studies that might be required.”
No firm cost projections have been made yet for construction of the facility.
“We are at early stages in our planning, although from our research we’re estimating between $5 and $10 million for the construction of the amphitheatre. We are seeking input from a number of experts to help us budget responsibly for a facility which will be attractive to both audiences and performers,” Bond said.
The society says it will not not be coming to the municipalities or the college for requests of major funding for the construction of the facility, but will be looking to federal and provincial funding opportunities as well as private sector donors to make the amphitheatre a reality.
Residents and businesses interested in learning more about the project are invited to an open house hosted by the society at the Vernon College Campus on Dec. 14 at 5 p.m. in the Kal View Cafe where an architect’s initial concept plan will be available for viewing and comment.
You can also visit www.kalbowl.ca for more information.
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