This is what an expanded Greater Vernon Museum could possibly look like.

This is what an expanded Greater Vernon Museum could possibly look like.

Greater Vernon Museum wants referendum

Greater Vernon Museum officials told city council Monday that they would like to hold a borrowing referendum in November 2014...

Another big ticket item could be going before Greater Vernon voters.

Greater Vernon Museum officials told city council Monday that they would like to hold a borrowing referendum in November 2014 to expand the facility.

“We need to get going on this,” said Ian Hawes, chairperson.

“We need to put together a detailed plan.”

The price tag for an expanded museum could be $8 to $10 million.

The goal is to take the current structure from about 13,000-square-feet to 30,000-square-feet so there is sufficient space for exhibits, public programs and storage, as well as climate control for artifacts.

“There will be a huge positive net impact for all of Vernon,” said Hawes of not only preserving local history but providing a destination for tourists.

A preliminary design concept was presented to Vernon council for consideration Monday.

“We want to make sure council understands what that looks like,” said Hawes of the plan, which could impact existing parking and landscaping in the area.

“We will use the existing part of the building and create a community hub for other groups to hold meetings.”

While some residents have suggested a new museum be constructed at the Coldstream Hotel parking lot, the city recently indicated that it supports expanding the current facility.

“Our board is behind this location. It’s right downtown and amenities are nearby,” said Hawes.

“We need to do our (planning) homework and we don’t have time to argue over location.”

The next step is for the Greater Vernon Museum board to meet with the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee, which oversees cultural issues on behalf of the Regional District of North Okanagan.

Support comes from Patrick Nicol, a Vernon councillor and RDNO chairperson.

“It’s the repository for all historical artifacts,” he said.

Greater Vernon residents recently decided to borrow $7.5 million for a sports complex, but Nicol  isn’t concerned that plans for the museum, and possibly a new art gallery, place significant pressure on  taxpayers.

“The public will have a role in what goes forward,” he said of a possible referendum next year.