The original mechanism that operated the Vernon clock tower at civic centre was found at the O’Keefe Ranch and will be preserved in the Greater Vernon Museum.

The original mechanism that operated the Vernon clock tower at civic centre was found at the O’Keefe Ranch and will be preserved in the Greater Vernon Museum.

Gift of time restored in historic clock tower

Vernon’s downtown clock tower will keep on ticking.

Vernon’s downtown clock tower will keep on ticking.

The structure, located in the civic centre at the corner of 32nd Avenue and 31st Street, across from the post office, will get a new inside modern mechanism to run the clock, and the tower will also be refurbished.

“We will proceed to spend $15,000 to upgrade the clock tower,” said City of Vernon manager of operation services, Shirley Koenig.

Council voted unanimously on the staff recommendation, though Mayor Wayne Lippert and Coun. Jack Gilroy were absent from Monday’s meeting.

The money will come from the city’s casino reserve fund.

To completely refurbish and strengthen the tower would cost more than $65,000.

The clock tower has been debated for a couple of months with council considering options to repair the clock which hasn’t operated for years.

The original mechanism used to run the clock was recently found at O’Keefe Ranch and would be too heavy to house in the current tower. The mechanism will be donated to Greater Vernon Museum.

Coun. Shawn Lee had been pushing to have the clock saved and fixed.

“I’m not completely happy but in these economic times I think it’s wise to make that decision,” said Lee of the plan to spend $15,000 on upgrades. “We preserve the heritage as the mechanism that ran the clock will be saved in the museum. Perhaps  some future council or future group might be able to get it running.”

Lee said reactions from citizens about saving the clock varied.

“Opinions ranged from ‘tear down the tower, we don’t need a clock’ to ‘refurbish it and get the old clock working,’” said Lee. “I think the decision of council is a good one.”

A modern mechanism will run the traditional clock face, and the tower will have the same appearance though there will be some improvements.

The plexiglass will be replaced, and the original wood circumference of the clock faces, which have been facing inside all of these years to protect the wood, will now be turned around.

 

Asked when the project would be completed, Koenig replied, “I can say it will be an early Christmas present.”