Theatre group seeks covenant on downtown Penticton property - InfoNews

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Theatre group seeks covenant on downtown Penticton property

A staff report will come back to council outlining options for a city-owned property currently being held for a performing arts centre.
January 25, 2019 - 3:30 PM

PENTICTON - It’s not likely to happen anytime soon, but Penticton city council is reluctant to give up on plans for a performing arts theatre on a city-owned piece of downtown land.

The subject of a covenant restricting use of a property on Nanaimo Avenue to preserve the lot strictly for use as an art centre, was presented in a letter to council sent by the South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre Society at the regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

The property was purchased a decade ago when Coun. Jake Kimberley was mayor. He spoke to the issue, saying the property was purchased with the specific intent to build a performing arts centre downtown.

Kimberley said the centre wasn’t going to happen overnight, but was a long-term project and the property purchased for that reason alone.

He said a restrictive covenant would require taxpayers’ assent through a referendum to sell the property for a different use, encouraging council to support the letter’s request for a covenant.

“If we lose the property, there’s nowhere else to put it,” he said.

Mayor John Vassilaki said he was a believer in dreaming big as well as arts and culture, calling a performing arts facility a big tourism draw, even bigger than sports tourism.

Coun. Judy Sentes expressed support for the arts centre, but noted the previous council had asked for a financial plan from the theatre group and that had not yet materialized.

Sentes said a lot of time had gone by without significant steps being made and called the plan "challenging."

The matter was referred back to staff for a report outlining various options. The property has been allocated for theatre use until March 31.


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