Science centre seeks space

The Okanagan Science Centre fears it will lose access to the city-owned Anna Cail Heritage Hall in Polson Park. - Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star
The Okanagan Science Centre fears it will lose access to the city-owned Anna Cail Heritage Hall in Polson Park.
— image credit: Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star

A popular Vernon attraction is predicting severe hardship if it gets tossed from some much-needed space.

The Okanagan Science Centre has been told it may no longer be able to lease the Anna Cail Heritage Hall in Polson Park because the owner — the City of Vernon — is considering other possible uses.

“That will have a devastating impact on our programs and it already has,” Sandi Dixon, OSC executive director, told Vernon council Tuesday.

“We’d be going backwards.”

Dixon says the main science centre building doesn’t provide sufficient room for school and public programs and the heritage hall is required.

“We’re having to turn groups away because we don’t have the space.”

OSC gets about 25,000 people walk through the doors every year, including 400 for recent Family Day activities.

Upwards of 6,000 children can attend school programs every year, and there are also birthday parties and summer programs.

Besides restricting programs, not being able to use the hall could impact OSC’s ability to generate revenue.

“With all of this growth, we have a need for space,” said Robert Clarke, vice-president.

OSC has leased the heritage hall since 2007, with some of it being used for exhibit storage.

“It was our understanding that we were proceeding with a long-term lease so we were surprised about other discussions going on,” said Dixon of the city considering alternate uses.

Members of city council did not get into a discussion with OSC representatives or clarify what other activities may occur at the heritage hall.

“Because it is a land issue, the discussions to date are in-camera,” said Mayor Rob Sawatzky.


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