Cultural plan examines options

The future of Greater Vernon’s cultural amenities remains undetermined

The future of Greater Vernon’s cultural amenities remains undetermined.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee continues work on a cultural plan, but a possible referendum date for a new art gallery and expanded museum has not been determined yet.

“This is something that will unfold from implementation of the plan,” said Juliette Cunningham, GVAC chairperson.

The Vernon Public Art Gallery and the Greater Vernon Museum had lobbied for a referendum this year on new facilities, but GVAC decided instead to develop a long-term strategy for cultural services in the community.

Cunningham admits the gallery and the museum are concerned about the apparent delay, particularly because a referendum will be held this November on a new ice sheet at Kal Tire Place.

“There is the potential for catastrophic failure and the loss of ice time (at Civic Arena),” she said in defence of the decision to pursue a new ice sheet.

As part of the process of determining needs for the museum and gallery, representatives from the Canadian Conservation Institute recently reviewed current conditions at both facilities.

Based on the inspection, the CCI will develop a report with recommendations.

“We want to understand the current risk to our public collection and how to address those right now,” said Tannis Nelson, GVAC’s community development co-ordinator.

“We also want them to identify what is needed for new facilities to protect our collection.”

The CCI’s findings will be incorporated into Greater Vernon’s cultural plan.

Stakeholders are presently involved in the development of the cultural plan and there will be a public open house Sept. 27 at the Village Green Centre.

“We will provide the vision and fundamental direction and we will look for feedback,” said Nelson.

“There will be a graffiti board to allow people to be creative with their ideas.”

The draft plan is broken down into four categories: cultural leadership, cultural capacity, cultural places and spaces and cultural narratives.

Discussions among elected officials have largely revolved around the role of local government in promoting the arts.

“We have to decide to what level we provide something? How much do we expect the groups to participate?” said director Jim Garlick.

“We are the controller of the public purse. We don’t want it to have a never-ending bottom,” added director Maria Besso.