BEYOND THE HEADLINES: The best of intentions

Columnist Richard Rolke touches on Greater Vernon's cultural debate

When pursuing political assistance, never give them an out.

But unfortunately that’s what occurred a couple of weeks ago when the Greater Vernon Museum suggested it may be willing to temporarily shelve plans for an expanded facility.

“The art gallery has more pressing immediate needs,” said Rob Tupper, museum president.

Now it should be pointed out that Tupper’s comments were based on the cost of a new museum and gallery swelling from $17 to $35 million. He was trying to be proactive in acknowledging the persistent financial concerns of elected officials and taxpayers.

I suspect there was also an element of chivalry involved as the very same day that both groups were before the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee, a street pipe broke and water and mud gushed into the gallery, causing significant damage.

But what’s become abundantly clear is some politicians were not paying attention.

No sooner was the meeting done and directors were convinced the museum was completely off the table.

It was left to the media to explain to them that, in fact, the museum had only proposed a deferral as a result of the overall price tag and a desire to ensure that some aspect of culture proceed instead of it all hitting a roadblock.

The reality, based on a follow-up discussion with Tupper, is that the museum very much wants to be on the radar during 2014, and to proceed to referendum with its art gallery partner.

And that is very likely given the direction taken by GVAC itself.

Staff has been directed to review every aspect of the cultural amenities, from facility size to the community’s ability to cover debt servicing, in an attempt to whittle down the cost to a more palatable level.

Depending on what the process determines, the scope of the projects could be scaled back to the point that a borrowing referendum can proceed.

But for that to occur, hopefully Greater Vernon politicians are clear that the museum and art gallery haven’t abandoned each other.

Both groups deserve praise for taking a team approach when it comes to planning and, ideally, they see the benefits of presenting a common front.

Now no one should fault Tupper. He was correct to be sensitive about the financial pressures facing GVAC directors and the willingness of residents to embrace such a potential expense.

But, unfortunately, his good intentions could either be misinterpreted by the politicians or provide them with a much-needed loophole as they try to present themselves as strong fiscal managers before November’s civic election.

 

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

Just Posted

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

City of Vernon crews are responding to a small sinkhole on Lakeshore Road in Vernon Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (Contributed)
Sinkhole slows Vernon traffic

Lakeshore Road has been reduced to single-lane alternating traffic Saturday

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

The Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs is inviting everyone to join them in celebrating Pink Shirt Day safely at home. (Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs)
Pink Shirt Day re-imagined as COVID-19 pandemic continues

The Boys and Girls Clubs are introducing Breakfast in a Box

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

Lake Country native Evan-Riley Brown is in the cast for the new film Journey To Royal: A WW II Rescue Mission to be released on video on demand and streaming services on Feb. 2. (Contributed)
Okanagan actor lands role in WW II movie

Evan-Riley Brown, from Lake Country, cast in production labelled as hybrid of a feature film and documentary called Journey To Royal: a WW II Rescue Mission.

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Most Read