Dauna Kennedy Grant

Dauna Kennedy Grant

Another water leak creates challenges at Vernon Public Art Gallery

Gallery officials continue to demand residents vote on a new facility

Pools of water are reigniting calls for a new art gallery in Greater Vernon.

Melting snow began leaking into the Vernon Public Art Gallery Wednesday morning.

“We have regular leaks that we keep buckets under but now we have a new one. It’s always interesting to see where they pop up,” said Dauna Kennedy Grant, executive director.

“It’s coming down on our storage area and we’re monitoring to make sure the collection is safe.”

However, Kennedy Grant fears the next leak will damage paintings and other items.

“It’s nerve-wracking to determine where they will occur.”

The gallery is located on the ground floor of the parkade on 31st Avenue.

“This building was never meant to be an art gallery and we continue to put Band-Aids on it,” said Kennedy Grant.

The City of Vernon, which owns the parkade, has been notified of the current situation.

“Apparently this leak is not an easy fix and could be a big job to fix it properly as a patch will potentially pop up leaks elsewhere,” said Kennedy Grant.

VPAG has been lobbying for a purpose-built gallery for years, but the possibility of going to referendum stalled as the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee developed a master cultural plan.

“They won’t let us move forward without having that plan adopted,” said Kennedy Grant.

It’s expected that GVAC could adopt the master plan in January and then a cultural advisory group would be formed.

“The debate around facilities and potential partnerships will happen there,” said Juliette Cunningham, GVAC chairperson.

Cunningham would not speculate as to when, or if, a borrowing referendum for an art gallery could be held.

The latest leak didn’t come as a surprise.

“We know there are some deficiencies in that building,” said Cunningham.

Kennedy Grant hopes the process for a new gallery moves ahead soon or public assets will continue to be at risk.

“Our mandate is to preserve the art collection for the community. Our job is to add to the collection to document what is happening throughout time and in the community,” she said.