Museum formally joins process

Planning is expanding for a proposed Vernon cultural facility.

Planning is expanding for a proposed cultural facility.

The Greater Vernon Museum is expected to join discussions between the Vernon Public Art Gallery and the city over determining a site for a building.

“We have a meeting with gallery and museum representatives in the near future about their strategy for a new building,” said Mayor Wayne Lippert.

Up until now, the discussions have only included the city and the art gallery.

Lippert says the process must be inclusive.

“I’d like to see the museum included because there is a better chance of  community support if both are involved. They have similar needs for space.”

The gallery presently occupies 6,200-square-feet in the downtown parkade, but gallery officials say there’s a need for a 16,000-square-foot building with 16-foot-high ceilings. Climate control is required under federal policies for large, national travelling exhibits.

The museum is 13,000-square-feet in size, and exhibition and storage space is limited. Officials say climate control is necessary to preserve fragile artifacts.

Lippert believes combining both groups could also make it more likely to access construction grants from non-local agencies.

“There are some funding sources that pertain directly to museums and not necessarily to art galleries,” he said.

City hall has been notified that there are some potential funding opportunities.

“The infrastructure planning grant program offers grants to support local governments in projects related to the development of sustainable community infrastructure,” said Ida Chong, B.C.’s community development minister, in a letter to Lippert.

“Although the IPGP has an ongoing intake, ministry staff are currently assessing applications that were submitted prior to Feb. 16, 2011. Applications received after Feb. 16 will not be assessed until later in the year.”

Currently, there are no ministry culture funding programs accepting applications.

“However, I trust that you  considered the Union of B.C. Municipalities gas tax general strategies priorities fund,” said Chong in her letter.