Room for programs is limited at the Vernon Public Art Gallery. (Morning Star file photo)

Cultural process proceeds

Greater Vernon residents may get a chance next year to vote on the future of cultural amenities.

On Thursday, the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee initiated a request for proposals to design and plan a multi-use cultural facility.

“We will start working on the location and viability of mixed space,” said Juliette Cunningham, chairperson.

Depending on how the process unfolds, a borrowing referendum for construction may be held by November 2018.

“Ultimately, it will be the taxpayers that decide,” said Cunningham.

The Greater Vernon Museum would like a new facility from 23,0000 to 30,000-square-feet in size while the Vernon Public Art Gallery has stated 18,000-square-feet is needed for programming, exhibitions and storage.

It has previously been suggested that the cost could be about $35 million, but the preliminary design and planning process would identify a more concrete price tag.

A new art gallery was formerly targeted for the old flower shop site on 31st Avenue while it was previously proposed that the museum be expanded, but Cunningham says GVAC has no preconceived notions about location.

“We want a comprehensive analysis on where it could be located,” she said, adding that while the issue of cultural facilities has been around for years, she is confident action is being taken.

“I get the sense that there is political will to address it in a meaningful way.”