The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce seeks expedited planning processes for the Cultural Centre in a letter written to local governments June 18, 2020. (Contributed)

Vernon chamber puts spotlight on new cultural centre

A letter penned to local governments urges for expedited planning processes

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is pushing for local governments to expedite the planning processes for a new cultural centre.

In a letter to the Regional District of North Okanagan, chamber president Krystin Kempton said the chamber worries the planning of the new multi-purpose facility is taking too long and there could be repercussions.

Our concern is that the process is taking some time and the public momentum before and after the referendum has been negatively impacted by this delay,” the June 18 letter said.

“That said, we believe now is the time to reinvigorate the initiative as the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn will likely result in senior governments placing significant dollars into infrastructure and stimulus projects,” Kempton wrote. “Greater Vernon needs to have a plan that is shovel-ready for when funding applications are launched.”

A 2018 referendum regarding the cultural centre delivered a yes with 7,850 voting in favour and 5,367 against.

READ MORE: It’s a YES for the cultural centre

The referendum asked voters if they were in favour of the RDNO authorizing a loan of up to $25 million to construct the multi-purpose cultural facility and authorize the establishment of a cultural service to operate it.

Kempton said the Chamber appreciates the recent decision to negotiate with the City of Vernon regarding the location and land costs for a centre, but pointed to the former Coldstream Hotel property on 31st Avenue, which “was clearly identified during the referendum.”

“There is a concern that going in a new direction with sites now will further delay the project,” she wrote. “We also believe that a downtown location is necessary to maximize economic benefits, specifically through new residential and commercial development downtown and bolstering cultural tourism.”

The chamber said the RDNO is also reviewing square footage of the facility “as a way of reducing overall costs.”

“While easing the financial burden on taxpayers should always be a priority, we would hope that the long-term needs of a growing community will be considered,” Kempton wrote, noting additions in the future are costly.

A new cultural centre would have benefits that are far-reaching, the chamber said, such as downtown renewal, a thriving economy and vibrant arts scene.

“But to get there, we, as a community, need to remain focused and that requires and expedited process.”

READ MORE: Vernon Cultural Centre plans move forward

READ MORE: Vernon Salvation Army warns of scam


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A fundraiser for the Falkland Community Church is underway. (Photo submitted)
COVID-19 leaves Falkland Church in a lurch

Annual event/major fundraiser cancelled for first time in 34 years

Advance polling saw nearly 10,000 votes cast in Vernon-Monashee. Pictured: Schubert Centre. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)
Almost 10,000 turn out to Vernon-Monashee advance polls

19 per cent of 52,479 registered voters have made their mark in B.C. election

Members of the Armstrong Lions Club have planted a red Canadian maple tree at Lions Park on Hunter Avenue as a show of tribute to their sister club in Banbridge, Northern Ireland. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Armstong Lions Club salutes sister club with tree

Red Canadian Maple planted in Lions Park pays tribute to Lions Club in Banbridge, Northern Ireland

The Community Foundation has teamed with the Canadian Mental Health Association and horse-assisted therapists to bring horse therapy to frontline worker battling the COVID-19 pandemic free of charge. (Contributed)
Okanagan organization says ‘thanks’ to COVID-19 frontline workers with complimentary horse therapy

Community Foundation teams with CMHA and equine therapists to offer unique mental health supports

COVID-19. (Courtesy of CDC).
Interior Health reports 12 additional COVID-19 cases

The total number of cases in the region is now at 644

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. Government photo)
Kelowna Francophone school COVID-19 outbreak climbs to 5, mixture of students and staff

Health officer says situation evolving, spoke to possible closure, changes to provincial guidelines

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Colin James put on a great show at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds as part of the 2019 Vancouver Island MusicFest. But his Okanagan tour for 2020 has been postponed until 2021. (Photo by Terry Farrell)
COVID-19 cancels Corb Lund’s Vernon, Penticton, Trail, Cranbrook concerts

The Contenders, Colin James and Lund postponed until 2021

RCMP detachments across B.C. are now flying Pride flags. (Submitted photo)
Man who spent 4 days injured on floor rescued by Kamloops Mountie

The man is recovering in hospital after being rescued by a police officer conducting a well-being check

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

Five people with alleged ties to the Red Scorpion Gang are facing numerous charges. (Kelowna RCMP)
5 men linked to Red Scorpion gang charged with gun, drug offences in Kelowna

Police seized a machine gun as well as 5.5 kilograms of fentanyl and carfentanil

Most Read