O'Keefe Historic Ranch seeks break on loan, says it's in danger of closing

Ranch in dire straits

O'Keefe Ranch is looking for a break from Vernon City Hall.

Historic O'Keefe Ranch and lnterior Heritage Society chair Bruce Cummings will address council on Monday, seeking an extension on a $70,000 loan, deferment of insurance payments, and a change in the requirements of a comprehensive audit.

"COVID-19 has been very hard on the ranch, and we are working through ways in which we can weather this storm. As is the case with everyone, we are uncertain of how the next year or years will play out. As such, O'Keefe Ranch is completing all its forecasting and budgeting assuming COVID-19 will still be a factor in 2021.This will allow us to plan a longer-term solution," Cummings says in a letter to council.

The society is requesting the following: 

  • Repayment of a $70,000 promissory note front Oct. 16, 2019, that is due Dec. 31, 2020, be deferred until Dec. 31, 2022.
  • Insurance payments for 2019, 2020, and 2021 be deferred to Dec. 31, 2022. 
  • Remove the necessity of a full audit for the 2020 fiscal year. 

"We understand our request is not small, and to continue to defer could incur a large enough debt that the ranch will struggle to meet its obligations. On the other hand, we are also met with the stark reality that the society may indeed collapse before this year is up. Both of these are very realistic possibilities," says Cummings.

"Our request does not come lightly.

"However, we feel we will be able to truly meet our financial obligation to the city by Dec. 31, 2022, with assistance." 

The ranch will ask the city to consider a review engagement as opposed to a full audit for 2021. This would be less intensive and less costly.

The ranch is also seeking council support for provincial grant applications.

Earlier this month, the ranch launched a fundraising campaign in an effort to raise $250,000.

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