Everything you need to know about Vernon’s Cultural Centre Referendum

On Oct. 20, Greater Vernon voters will be asked to decide whether they support borrowing up to $25 million for the purpose of constructing a new cultural centre in downtown Vernon.

On Oct. 20, Greater Vernon voters will be asked to decide whether they support borrowing up to $25 million for the purpose of constructing a new multi-purpose cultural centre in downtown Vernon.

The referendum will be held with the upcoming general local election and will determine whether the community wishes to move forward with grant applications and fundraising to generate the additional $15 million required to complete this $40 million project.

Related: How to get your B.C. referendum package if you’re going to be away

Related: Regional District of North Okanagan to share info on Vernon cultural facility referendum

In preparation for the upcoming referendum, the RDNO is helping to prepare eligible voters by sharing the question that will be on the ballot at the upcoming general local election the same day.

The question on the referendum ballot will ask whether the voter is in favour of the Regional District adopting two bylaws: one to authorize the loan that will allow the Regional District to borrow up to $25 million for the purposes of constructing a multi-purpose cultural facility, and the second to authorize the establishment of a cultural service to operate that facility.

Both bylaws were given three readings by the Regional District Board of Directors and will now go before the voters to seek elector assent (voter approval) prior to adoption. The Board of Directors has decided to seek elector assent through an assent vote (referendum), which is scheduled to be held in conjunction with the local general elections.

The actual question that eligible voters in the Vernon, Coldstream, and Electoral Areas “B” and “C” (BX/Swan Lake) will be asked is:

“Are you in favour of the Regional District adopting the following bylaws:

* Greater Vernon Cultural Service Establishment Bylaw No. 2785, 2018; and,

* Greater Vernon Multi-Purpose Cultural Facility Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 2786, 2018

“This authorizes the Regional District of North Okanagan to establish a cultural service and borrow an amount not to exceed twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000) for the purpose of financing a portion of the monies required for the acquisition of lands and construction of a new Multi-Purpose Cultural Facility for the Greater Vernon Service: yes or no.”

This is an area-wide vote, which means that when the polls close on Oct. 20, the votes will be tallied for Greater Vernon as a whole. If more than half of the votes cast are “YES” to the ballot question, the project will proceed to the next step of securing the additional funding required through grants and fundraising within the five-year time frame permitted to borrow the money. The money would be borrowed and the project would proceed once the additional money was secured. If more than the targeted $15 million is raised through grants and fundraising, it would reduce the amount required from borrowing and less than $25 million would be borrowed.

If more than half of the Greater Vernon electors vote “NO,” or the additional money required to complete the project is not secured, the money would not be borrowed and the project would not proceed.

Residents are encouraged to check the project website for additional information opportunities that may be scheduled, at www.gvculturalcentre.ca.

Related: Hesketh moves from hospice care to Vernon council race

Related: RDNO launches referendum campaign

Related: Voter registration push begins for B.C. referendum

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