Greater Vernon Cultural Centre

Next Steps

Get involved with fundraising! 

  • Donate to the Greater Vernon Cultural Centre project by contacting the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives or Vernon Public Art Gallery. Community Foundation link coming soon!

  • Contact the Cultural Centre Fundraising Team (contact to be added soon).

Get updates on the project

The Greater Vernon Cultural Centre project has been built on a carefully studied capital and operational plan that has been developing over the last fifteen years and refined over the last four.  This multi-year commitment has resulted in a project that is sure to sustainably meet the needs of the community well into the future.

On October 20, 2018, Greater Vernon voters were asked to decide whether they support borrowing up to $25 million for the purpose of constructing a new cultural centre in downtown Vernon. The referendum, which was approved with the 2018 general local elections, has provided the authority to borrow up to $25 million to fund a portion of the project, and has allowed the community to move forward to the next step of preparing grant applications and fundraising to generate the $14.5 million required to complete this $39.5 million dollar project.

The Cultural Centre will create:

  • critical exhibition and storage space to safely house and display community art and history;
  • meeting, classroom and workshop spaces;
  • presentation / performance space with 200 retractable seats;
  • community kitchen to cater local functions;
  • retail /  gift shop to support local artists and artisans; and,
  • a bright, shared atrium that will spill out into an outdoor plaza, serving as a community gathering place, facility lobby and place of celebration.

It will welcome more than 60,000 visitors per year and bring $500,000 in direct economic benefit. Additionally, it will attract longer visitor stays, expand program and education offerings, add jobs and compliment other popular tourist attractions like the Okanagan Rail Trail. All considered, the Cultural Centre will bring an increase of nearly $2 million / year in total economic benefit. 


Background

There has been significant planning work that has led up to the plan for the proposed Greater Vernon Cultural Centre, including but not limited to the development and adoption of the Greater Vernon Cultural Plan, 2016.

It is important to have an understanding of the history in order to appreciate what has led us to this point. The timeline below illustrates some of the key steps.


Cultural Centre - Location

The Greater Vernon Cultural Centre will be constructed on the undeveloped  Vernon Block (old Coldsteam Hotel site), located at 3103 30 St., Vernon, B.C., centrally located to all downtown amenities, kitty corner from Vernon City Hall municipal site and adjacent to the planned rail trail corridor.

The cultural centre will take up 1/2 of the property with the remainder earmarked for mixed-use (commercial/residential) development. A new cultural centre in the downtown core will contribute to the revitalization efforts, and bring more people downtown creating a safer and more vital Vernon. When we have a vibrant downtown, there's a terrific cycle of more events, more dining and shopping, and more safety and community. All of us want to see our downtown at its best, and this cultural centre will go a long way toward helping us achieve that.

The new cultural centre will be accessible to everyone. Locating it in the downtown and near transit and pocket parking lots means that it's much easier for all residents to enjoy.

The Vernon Block is owned by the City of Vernon and while it has been used temporarily for parking, it was always earmarked for mixed uses that would include commercial and residential, as well as institutions such as the cultural centre.

The City of Vernon has a parking plan that will help offset the loss in parking as the Vernon Block site is developed, and it is expected that high-use parking times of the cultural centre will be in the evenings...complimentary to the downtown shopping use during the day.


Cultural Centre - Construction Funding

The Greater Vernon Cultural Centre project has a total project estimate of $39.5 million (in 2022 dollars), which includes construction, equipment, land and offsite costs. The project will be funded through a combination of borrowing ($25 million approved through the 2018 referendum), grants,  fundraising and donations. 

If the remaining funds can not be raised within several years, the project will not proceed and the borrowing approved through referendum will not take place.


Cultural Centre - Operating Costs

Provided the remaining funding is secured to construct the building, the Regional District has approved the required budget to sustainably operate the new facility. The cost increase per household will be quite low since the majority of the increase will be mitigated by the elimination of the current annual lease fee paid by the Regional District for the use of the current Vernon Public Art Gallery location, as well as the new, LEED Gold energy-efficient building (Learn more about LEED certification).


Have more questions? Please check out our Frequently Asked Questions pages, or contact our cultural services staff at [email protected]

Interested in learning more about the Greater Vernon Museum & Archives or the Vernon Public Art Gallery? Use the links below to visit their website.