Vernon byelection candidates sound off on cultural centre, active living centre plans

Candidates talk big projects

Castanet asked candidates in Vernon's council byelection to tell us their position on a number of issues.

Today, the candidates talk about Vernon's planned cultural centre, which has had to be scaled down due to not receiving senior government grant funding, and a proposed active living centre for the Kin Race Track lands.

Voters go to the polls Dec. 4.

Ed Stranks

Sports and cultural facilities are important for the community. The scope of the works needs to take the community's projected growth into consideration and enable these facilities to be expanded or added to, rather than replaced as a whole. The cost of large projects must take current tax levels and the cost of living for all in the city into consideration. The cost of new facilities must not exceed the ability to pay for these. Grants and partnerships must be sought to cut the cost of needed facilities to a level that is affordable for all.

Andy Wylie

The cultural centre should be built mostly as a venue for the expression of high school and college student artistic search for what is beautiful to them. Dad will not get off the couch for art done by 50 and 60 year olds, but mom and dad will take the family to go and see exhibitions by their children. Family fun is my campaign motto. This will also invigorate the downtown core.

Kevin Demers

These are important projects in Vernon’s growth that greatly impact our quality of life while attracting tourism and new business to our city. We have an opportunity before shovel hits ground to ensure we bring the best innovation in sound and stage quality to this project that ensure we attract world-class events.

Teresa Durning

Citizens make the decisions on big projects. We all want the best amenities, and I would like to see both of these projects eventually built in Vernon. Can we afford it and do the people support it will be the deciding factors. The planned cultural centre has hit a few bumps, and as I sit on the Public Art Gallery board, I wont say more. It would be good to see that project dealt with before we need to make a decision on the much-needed active living centre so there isn’t an overlap with the projects.

Flora Evans

I know that big projects are generally followed by increased taxes. I think we should take a breather while we all recover economically from this pandemic and find out what it will cost for our policing in the middle of a crime rate increase. I’d love to say yes, but later.

Sherrilee Franks

I support the active living centre. There are some big questions to ask as we work through this process, including ensuring our last referendum on the cultural centre plays out in a way that maintains trust with residents.

Art Gourley

I did not vote for a cultural centre. If they do build one, I doubt the (federal) government will give Vernon $25 million. That's a joke. Why build two hockey rinks, too? I would like to see Vernon build a new City Hall, and maybe the cultural centre could be in the same building.

Stephanie Hendy

We should proceed with the construction of the active living centre and Greater Vernon cultural centre. Both of these projects benefit the health of the community.

Cartherine Lord

Our residents voted yes to borrowing for a new cultural centre that would house the museum and art gallery, and the downtown location is a perfect site for such a complex. At the political table, it was decided that the project would go ahead contingent on both the museum and gallery raising a certain percentage of the costs. To date, that has not been achieved. Some revision of the plan will be needed. I believe that for many people, arts and culture are as necessary as food and water. Recreation and sports attract young families, but our recreation centre and pool date back to the 1960s. Our population has grown significantly since then and we need new facilities. I fully support this new facility. The intention is to hold a referendum in conjunction with the 2022 municipal election.

Jamie Morrow

I supported the borrowing for the new cultural centre. I will also support a new recreation facility. I see this not only as an investment for the city and all of us, but also an investment for our children and grandchildren. Arts, culture and recreation are a key economic driver that contributes to local economies by building strong and vibrant communities as well as creating civic engagement.

Erik Olesen

I supported and participated in events to get people to vote in support of the cultural centre in 2018 when I ran for mayor. Arts and culture is what attracts families to a community. We need to be able to share a space that exemplifies history, diversity and community. The active living centre is a project I believe our community could use with the aging of the current rec centre. However, I do not believe the necessary time has been allotted to see what kind of financial impact this would have on residents. We have a financial obligation to ask tough questions about the impact big projects can cause, which I think has not been consistently asked.

More Vernon News