Funding Strategy Approved by GVAC for the Greater Vernon Cultural Centre

On Wednesday, September 23, 2020, the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee (GVAC) was tasked with considering the capital and operational funding strategies for the Cultural Centre. The funding strategies are required components for a major grant application for the project. After nearly four hours of debate and discussion, the committee unanimously approved a revised funding strategy for both the capital construction of the project and the estimated ongoing operational costs.

The approved capital funding strategy is:

Borrowing: $25 million (approved in 2018 by referendum)
Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Community, Culture and Recreation Grant: $8.5 million
Other Grants: $2 million
Fundraising / donations: $4 million
Total $39.5 million

This funding strategy is consistent with the referendum in that it limits the taxpayer funding to the $25 million borrowing, with the remainder of the funding to come from grants and fundraising.

In May 2020, the project steering team was directed by GVAC to investigate ways to reduce the size of the building by up to 20% square footage and to update and review both the capital and operational costs. Four stakeholder workshops were held during which the Cultural Centre total square footage was reduced by 21%. The reduction in space resulted in innovative solutions for more flexible and adaptable spaces that can be used for multiple purposes.

For example, exhibition spaces will be designed to be flexible, with moveable walls, and classroom spaces will be multi-purpose, also serving as meeting rooms and as additional backstage area for performances. The decision was also made to leave the archives vault in its current location and increase public access to archival documents through digitization and remote terminals in the new building.

While the saving of square footage reduced some of the projected operational costs of the Cultural Centre, GVAC unanimously agreed to support an additional annual amount of $286,000 funded through taxation for projected utility, maintenance, and programming costs.

“Submitting grant applications does not guarantee we will be successful in securing the funding, but deciding upon these vital details is an important milestone in the project,” said Akbal Mund, Chair of GVAC. “Without these approved strategies, our application would be incomplete, so tonight’s decisions were an integral step towards the success of the project.”