Vernon to sell land for Cultural Centre to regional district for $2.5M | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon to sell land for Cultural Centre to regional district for $2.5M

The proposed site for the Greater Vernon Cultural Centre at 32 Avenue, Vernon.
September 16, 2020 - 10:40 AM

The City of Vernon will sell the future downtown site of the Greater Vernon Cultural Centre for almost $2.5-million to the Regional District of North Okanagan.

The City of Vernon approved the sale of the 32 Avenue site, which will cost the regional district $2,475,000, at its Sept. 14 meeting. City staff will go ahead and facilitate the sale of up to 50 per cent of the site, approximately 33,000 square feet, which takes up roughly half a city block. A third party land appraiser set the price at $75 per square foot.

The land sale confirms the location of the cultural centre almost two years after a referendum gave the go-ahead to borrow up to $25 million to build the $40 million cultural space.

"A lot of good work has gone into the cultural centre project recently," Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming said in a press release. "In the last few months, elected officials and staff from the City of Vernon, the District of Coldstream, and Electoral Areas B and C have had a series of productive meetings to move the project forward. Finalizing the land sale agreement is a critical step in seeing this regional facility come to life and we are pleased to finally be at this stage of the process."

A regional district staff report in August stated the sale of the land had to be complete by Oct. 1 in order to submit a "strong grant application." The staff report warned that if the deadline was missed there might not be another opportunity to apply for funding within the required timeline since the referendum.

Greater Vernon Cultural Centre is being funded by the City of Vernon, District of Coldstream, and regional District Areas B and C and each pay a proportionate amount.

"What’s important for our residents to understand is that the City of Vernon has already purchased the Vernon Block land and has invested a considerable amount of time and funding to prepare the site for future development, such as off-site works," Mayor Cumming said. "We are not asking Vernon taxpayers to purchase the land a second time. Rather, our partners in Coldstream and Areas B and C will need to pay their portion of the land cost, 31.4 per cent.”

Along with the sale of the land, the grant application must also contain a construction and operational cost report, and a rendering of the centre, and funding strategies for the cultural centre.

READ MORE: Vernon Council persuaded that new park needs a last-minute rethink

— This story was corrected 4:45 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020 to clarify 33,000 square feet is approximately half the site.

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