North Okanagan politicians have a plan to make Greater Vernon Cultural Centre even easier on taxpayers | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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North Okanagan politicians have a plan to make Greater Vernon Cultural Centre even easier on taxpayers

Image Credit: Daian Gan via Pexels
November 20, 2018 - 5:30 PM

VERNON - The Greater Vernon Cultural Centre could move a lot smoother to fruition if officials are successful in getting extra funding.

At the Regional District of North Okanagan Board of Directors meeting tomorrow, Nov. 21, members will decide whether or not to apply for a grant from the Community Culture and Recreation portion of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure program — and how much. In the run up to the referendum, they anticipated seeking $ 6 million. Instead, they it appears they will seek $12.83 million in grants. The community funding program has $134 million available for projects like the cultural centre, covering up to 73.33 per cent of the costs. The Greater Vernon Cultural Centre is expected to cost $40 million.

During the Vernon municipal elections, voters approved a motion to borrow up to 62 per cent of the costs ($25 million). The Regional District has to secure the rest of the funds or the loan will not go through. Typically, provincial and federal bodies foot one-third of the bill each for such projects, but since two-thirds are already approved in the loan, such action isn't need. A staff report states this "will significantly strengthen the Regional District's funding request."

If the committee approves the $12.83 million application and the grant is awarded to them, the Regional District still has to raise $2.17 million. With a fundraising target of $4 million, all additional funds raised would then reduce the amount of borrowing required.

Another option includes raising $6 million, although this option has a risk. If at least $3.73 million is not raised by the Jan. 23, 2021 start date mandated by the lender, the $25 million may be cut. The district calls this an "inappropriate level of risk" and for that reason is no longer recommending it as an option.

The deadlne for the infrastructure grant is Jan. 23, 2019. The Board of Directors meeting will be held on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at 9848 Aberdeen Road in Coldstream.

— with files from Shelby Thevenot

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