Cultural request moves on

Grant request from the North Okanagan Artists Alternative Monday sent to GVAC

The concept of a cultural centre has been sent off in another direction.

Vernon council denied a $24,000 grant request from the North Okanagan Artists Alternative Monday and the group has been told to approach the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee for assistance. The money was being sought so NOAA can proceed with a feasibility study for a proposed arts/culture building.

“It’s a substantial amount of money and we’re looking at a cultural plan through Greater Vernon,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.

“It would be more appropriate to go through Greater Vernon.”

The proposal, which also involves developer Krystine McInnes, calls for the renovation of an existing building to include an art gallery, a cafe, a public market and retail activities. There could also be live-in studios for artists.

McInnes says she’s not surprised by city council’s decision.

“One of the biggest challenges facing social venture exists in small communities where mindsets are often weary of the new or innovative in favour of the established ways of doing things,” she said.

“We truly respect the decision of council and look forward to continuing to forge the path ahead as we find another way to bring this project to the community and have already begun shaping our application with GVAC.”

The total price tag for the initiative ranges between $3 and $6 million, and while some would come from the private sector, it’s hoped the majority of the funding would come from the federal government.

Proponents of the concept have consulted with a number of organizations, and while some are interested in a cultural building, others are not.

“I advised some time ago that Kindale would not support the project,” said B. Elliott, Kindale executive director.

McInnes says the building plan proposed a free community centre for Kindale members.

“It has been brought to our attention that although we have consulted with Kindale on numerous occasions, we haven’t received the board approval of this proposal to date,” she said.

“The inclusion centre is part of our proposed concept, which requires us to still move through the final feasibility in obtaining that organization’s support.”