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Downtown Vernon location picked for proposed $40-million cultural facility

Click to play video: 'Vernon voters split on borrowing referendum'
Vernon voters split on borrowing referendum
Watch Above: A fall vote is planned in Vernon where voters will get to decide if the regional district should borrow a large sum of cash. The $25 million would build a new cultural centre in the north Okanagan. As Megan Turcato reports, some resident feel the money could be better spent – Jun 21, 2018

It’s being used as a parking lot in downtown Vernon, but it could be the future site of a new $40-million cultural facility for the region.

The Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) said Vernon city council has identified the 2900 block between 31st Avenue and 32nd Avenue as the best place for the proposed facility.

It’s another step forward for the project, which, if built, would become the new home of the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives and the Vernon Public Art Gallery.

“A project of this size and scope can be a catalyst to encourage higher density mixed-use development, which is what we want to see for downtown,” Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund said in a media release.

READ MORE: Plans for new $40-million Vernon cultural facility move forward

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However, the project still needs to pass a major hurdle.

The regional district’s plans to finance the project involve borrowing $25-million.

Voters will be able to weigh in on the proposed borrowing when they go to the ballot box during this fall’s civic election.

Watch Below: People in downtown Vernon had mixed reactions to the idea of borrowing $25-million for a new cultural facility in the city.
Click to play video: 'Mixed reactions to borrowing $25-million for cultural facility'
Mixed reactions to borrowing $25-million for cultural facility

READ MORE: Vernon art gallery mounts exhibition in shipping containers

The regional district is hoping the timing will minimize the impact of borrowing on taxpayers.

“The $25-million loan is timed to coincide with the $23.8-million borrowed for the construction for Kal Tire Place and the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre coming off the books,” the regional district explained in a media release.

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The RDNO said the rest of the money for the project, $15-million, will come from “federal and provincial grants, partnership contributions, fundraising and donations.”

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