Cultural partners unknown

There’s still some doubt as to which Greater Vernon residents may vote on cultural amenities.

There’s still some doubt as to which Greater Vernon residents may vote on cultural amenities.

Greater Vernon Advisory Committee members were unanimous Thursday on spending $30,000 to confirm construction and operating costs for a  spring referendum on a proposed new art gallery and museum.

However, Mike Macnabb, BX-Silver Star, director, says that while he approves of determining costs, it’s not a guarantee his area will participate in the referendum.

“I always want information to base my decisions on. Right now, there’s not enough information,” he said of costs and building square footage.

Bob Fleming, BX-Swan Lake, also isn’t sure if his constituents may participate in expanding the cultural facilities.

Fleming will make a decision in November.

“You can’t delay much longer or you are delaying the timeline of the referendum.”

Rob Tupper, museum president, hopes the elector areas will join Vernon and Coldstream in the referendum.

“We would like to have the entire region represented because we are the museum and archives for the entire region,” he said.

Dauna Kennedy Grant, VPAG executive director, is confident the referendum will proceed no matter which jurisdictions proceed.

“We are optimistic the project is gaining momentum,” she said.

As part of the $30,000, consultants will look at cost projections developed by the Greater Vernon Museum and Vernon Public Art Gallery and determine if they are realistic.

It’s been suggested that total construction could be $17.9 million while current operating costs could go from $281,846 a year to $429,456.

“To firm up the numbers is really important,” said Jim Garlick, Coldstream director.

As part of the process, GVAC will clarify with the City of Vernon the costs and ownership of the the preferred locations if the projects proceed. Presently, they are owned by the city.

GVAC also wants assurances from the VPAG and museum that the groups will provide the cost difference between holding a spring referendum and a vote in conjunction with November 2014’s civic elections. The funds — possibly $50,000 — would be secured prior to  GVAC making a final decision on a borrowing referendum.

“It won’t be a problem. We have money jointly set aside,” said Kennedy Grant, adding the funds will likely impact the ability to provide pre-referendum marketing.