GVAC places gallery concept on backburner
Art gallery proponents have been told to cool their jets.
The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee decided Thursday that it won’t consider the possibility of a new Vernon Public Art Gallery until a review of cultural services is completed.
“There are some concerns we’re being directed by that group without any input from our side,” said Mike Macnabb, chairperson. “They have some large demands with huge implications for taxpayers.”
VPAG had wanted to go to referendum on a $5-million facility this year, but the earliest GVAC may be in a position to start discussing the matter is June.
Macnabb says GVAC has to consider a broad range of pressures for tax dollars.
“We want to look at community needs,” said Macnabb. “The competition (for dollars) is huge with water infrastructure.”
And before the green light can be given to a referendum, Macnabb says officials have to look at the capital and operating costs of a new gallery and the location.
“What are the alternatives? We’re out of the loop but they’re asking us to go to referendum. The question is, can we support this?” he said.
Macnabb admits the delay in process won’t go over well with those lobbying for an art gallery referendum.
“It may be disappointing but our role is to look after taxpayers,” he said.
Macnabb isn’t sure if a new art gallery can be open by 2015, a deadline VPAG had targeted because of the Okanagan Print Triennial.
“Personally, I don’t think so but I don’t know,” he said. “We don’t want to jump into this because one group is demanding.”
GVAC’s decision to not proceed with planning for an art gallery now has not gone over well with the Vernon Public Art Gallery.
“We’re not thrilled,” said Dauna Kennedy Grant, executive director. “We have an active steering committee willing to do the work to go to referendum. We’re not asking for a lot. We’re just asking to go to referendum.”
As for suggestions that VPAG has been directing elected officials along a specific course, Kennedy Grant says her organization has been following the lead of GVAC and the City of Vernon.
“We put together our business case and we’ve been following what’s been asked of us,” she said.
VPAG has proposed a new facility be constructed on city-owned property on 31st Avenue.