Vernon Winter Carnival Society has five more years to search for a new home office.
After a year of battles and negotiations, the society announced Tuesday at its annual awards night at the Schubert Centre that they’d reached a five-year deal with the City of Vernon to remain in their current location, a city-owned building on 35th Avenue beside the Priest Valley Arena and Gymnasium Complex, and BX-Swan Lake Creek.
“The Vernon Winter Carnival board is happy and relieved that we do not have to vacate the building at this time,” said board chairperson Deb White. “Giving us five years will give us the time we need to find a proper home for Vernon Winter Carnival. The board of directors and the City of Vernon worked together to present a lease that would work well for both parties.”
The two sides had been in a dispute for a year when the city announced in March 2018 they were evicting Carnival due to safety concerns over the aging building.
In January 2019, Vernon council reduced conditions that would allow the society to remain in the building from 11 to nine following considerable debate and a 3-2 vote (two councillors were absent from the vote).
The original motion called for council to remain in the building for a term no later than May 1, 2020, conditional on 11 items. Two items were removed after the debate, as was the May 2020 deadline.
“The Carnival is happy about it (lease) and we’re happy about it,” said Coun. Kari Gares, the city’s Carnival liaison. “The carnival will be responsible for maintenance and repairs to the building, and they will be responsible for annual check-ups on the building.”
The original eviction notice cited the “continuing deterioration of the building,” and said the building was “at or near the end of its life. The city feared for the safety of the occupants.
The society has an executive director in the building from September to February. The building houses Carnival’s archives and trophies.