Future unknown for clock tower

Historic downtown Vernon clock tower debate stuck in time

The future of Vernon’s clock tower has become more complex.

The city has been considering options to repair the clock, which hasn’t operated for years. However, it was recently discovered that the mechanisms in the tower aren’t the original parts from the 1912 post office.

“Somebody at the museum said the original mechanisms are in the basement of a building at O’Keefe Ranch,” said Coun. Shawn Lee, who has been pushing for action on the landmark on 32nd Avenue downtown.

“What’s running the clock now has been jury-rigged together since the 1970s.”

City staff had recently recommended $15,000 go towards installing electronic components in the clock tower because it would cost $50,000 to refurbish the mechanism first thought to be original.

Adding to the complexity of the issue is the physical condition of the tower.

“Someone has told me the tower couldn’t handle the weight of the original mechanism if it’s restored,” said Lee.

“It’s a bit of a can of worms we’ve opened.”

Staff has suggested the tower be reinforced and that digital parts be installed in the clock, with the original mechanism being donated to the museum.

No decision has been made by council although federal grants may be sought to restore the original time piece.

“It’s really hard to know where to go with this,” said Lee.

One option Lee is not prepared to support, though, is removal of the clock tower.

 

“It really adds something to downtown,” he said.