No immediate action on heritage clock tower

Additional time has been given to a downtown Vernon landmark.

Additional time has been given to a downtown Vernon landmark.

Instead of installing digital components, Vernon council decided Monday to consider financial options that would preserve the 1912 mechanism inside the clock tower at 32nd Avenue and 31st Street.

“We have an opportunity to do it right and preserve the heritage quality of the clock,” said Coun. Shawn Lee of saving the original parts.

“The quick fix is so tempting but I’m thinking of the generations to come. If you travel, you will see communities where they spent money to preserve things.”

City staff had recommended that $15,000 go towards installing electronic components in the clock tower because it would cost $50,000 to refurbish the current mechanism.

The clock was installed in Vernon’s post office in 1912. It was relocated to its current location in 1967 after the post office was demolished.

One city employee maintained the clock but he retired a few years ago and the clock hasn’t functioned properly for about four years.

Options for preserving the vintage mechanism will include senior government grants, and the item will be considered in the city’s 2012 budget.

“Our clock has heritage value,” said Lee.

“I’d rather see us pursue something we can be proud of.”

Coun. Jack Gilroy is open to maintaining the current mechanism but he also doesn’t have a problem with installing a digital device.

“It won’t take away from the look of the clock,” he said of an electronic mechanism.

“The person driving by only sees the hands and they don’t care what’s inside.”

Lee also wants regular maintenance for the wooden tower structure itself.

“The tower has got a little mangy. It’s not an image that the city wants to have,” he said.