Cultural facility size, cost

They know the size, they know they cost, they just don't know exactly where.

The plan for a new multi-purpose cultural facility for Greater Vernon has a preliminary size and cost estimate.

The project, which is based on a facility size of 58,000 square feet, has a budget of $40 million based on estimates that presume construction in 2020.

The board of directors have approved a preliminary funding strategy for the facility that proposes to use project timing to moderate the tax impact on Greater Vernon residents.

The facility, to be located in the Vernon city centre, will provide improved space for the art gallery and museum, as well as flexible spaces that will be available to other community organizations that are struggling to find venues to offer their programs and activities.

A referendum is planned for up to $25 million, which is $1.2 million more than the $23.8 million debt that will come off of the books by 2022 from the construction of Kal Tire Place and the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre.

“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 tax payers,” said Bob Fleming, chairperson of the regional district board of directors.

The project budget, which has been given a cost of $40 million, is made up of pre-construction and project management costs of $3.34 million, construction costs of $29.38 million, a construction contingency of $5.78 million, and a land purchase contingency of $1.5 million.

“The Greater Vernon cultural facility will be more than a community asset,” said director Juliette Cunningham. “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 approval of the funding strategy will provide the community with the confidence to begin their fundraising efforts for the project. The funding strategy for the project has been approved in principle, subject to the selection of the site and finalization of the project budget.

It is proposed 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.

Officials are now looking for a site for the project.

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