• Vernon Public Art Gallery

New Vernon art gallery and museum given $40M price tag



May 23, 2018 - 12:48 PM

VERNON - The cost of a new cultural centre for Vernon’s museum and art gallery would cost an estimated $40 million.

The new facility has been in the works for years and would be built somewhere in Vernon’s city centre. Today, the Regional District of North Okanagan released a preliminary funding strategy for the building.

With a proposed facility size of 58,000 square feet, the total project budget is pegged at $40 million with construction starting in 2020. The preliminary funding strategy approved by the Board of Directors proposes using project timing to moderate the tax impact on Greater Vernon residents, states the release.

The Regional District has agreed to go to referendum for up to $25 million for the project, which is $1.2 million more than the $23.8 million in debt that will come off of the books from the construction of Kal Tire Place and the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre by 2022, the district says. 

“By timing this project with the elimination of the debt from Kal Tire Place and the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre, we can aim to complete this amazing community project while minimizing the impact on taxpayers,” board chair Bob Fleming says in the release.

Within the $40 million budget is $3.34 million for pre-construction and project management costs, $29.38 million for construction, $5.78 million for construction contingency and $1.5 million for a land purchase contingency.

“The Greater Vernon cultural facility will be more than a community asset,” Juliette Cunningham, chair of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee says. “It will be an investment in our city. A cultural destination like this will draw people downtown. When more people are downtown people feel safer, restaurants and businesses are busier, and we see a greater economic benefit to our region.” 

While the ability to borrow will need to be approved through referendum, the district hopes that approval of the funding strategy will provide the community with the confidence to begin fundraising efforts for the project. The funding strategy for the project, which has been approved in principle, is subject to the selection of the site and finalization of the project budget, the district says. It is proposed that the project funding be made up of $25 million from regional district borrowing, $6 million from infrastructure grants, $5 million through partnership contributions, and $4 million through fundraising and donations.

“The regional district is now working with the community partners and the City of Vernon to evaluate sites for the facility. Once a site has been selected, the preliminary concept plan and budget can be adjusted for the site and taken out for public consultation, and a timeline for the project, including all funding requirements, can be developed,” the district says.

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