Voters approved the Greater Vernon Cultural Centre — so, now what? | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Voters approved the Greater Vernon Cultural Centre — so, now what?

October 22, 2018 - 5:00 PM

VERNON - This weekend Vernon voters voted in favour of funding a multi-million dollar cultural facitlty.

Roughly 59 per cent of voters said "yes" to borrowing $25 million to fund the $40 million Greater Vernon Cultural Centre project. This affirmative vote has now empowered the Regional District of the North Okanagan to start securing funds for the remaining $15 million.

Ashley Gregerson with the regional district says now they have to apply for federal and provincial grants, as well as pass through some red tape.

"We have to pass the loan authorization bylaw and the service establishment bylaw and those will go off to the province and be adopted," Gregerson says in a phone interview. 

The Canadian government said it will invest $3.917 billion in B.C. infrastructure over 10 years according to the "Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program" grant information webpage. Gregerson says the district is applying under the "Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure" section which declares Canadian and British Columbian governments have committed up to $134 million towards the program.

In other words, the money is there.

However if the $15 million is not secured within five years, they do not get the $25 million loan and the entire project is dropped. That is their agreement with the Municipal Finance Authority of British Columbia, who is the lender.

"I'm sure that we'll be working with the partners that have gotten us this far through the next steps," Gregerson says. "It's been a huge collaboration."

Since the launch of the cultural plan, the district engaged in the Greater Vernon member communities such as the City of Vernon, the City of Coldstream and electoral areas B and C.

In a phone interview mayor-elect Victor Cumming says he will be clear about his role in the cultural centre's establishment after he officially takes office on Nov. 5.

"I hope that others who are elected in the region also bring that same kind of passion and focus," Cumming says noting that he expressed support for the centre early in his campaign, "and just be able to dive right in to it and make [the cultural centre] one of our high priorities."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shelby Thevenot or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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