New city council, new hope as Vernon Winter Carnival Society fights eviction

New city council, new hope as Vernon Winter Carnival Society fights eviction

A new city council in Vernon may give the Vernon Winter Carnival Society a reprieve from eviction.

Vernon has been trying to get the non-profit, which organizes the annual festival, to agree to leave their current city-owned office by June 25, 2019.

City staff have concerns about the fitness of the old building.

The city’s chief administrative officer told council that the building’s foundation is part of the nearby creek bank and will eventually fail.

He believes the building’s expiry date makes investing more public money on it a poor idea.

The society, however, would like to stay in its current location beyond next summer, and the society’s chair made her case to council on Monday.

“That’s our home. We’ve been there since 1995,” said society chair Deb White, referring to the society’s current office on 35 Avenue.

“It hold all our memorabilia. If we have to move, I don’t know if we could get a location better than that.”

After a presentation by the society’s chair on Monday, Vernon council is taking another look at the issue.

“I don’t see, at this point, that there is any structural problems with that particular building,” said city councillor Kari Gares. “It is hard at this point in time for me to actually physically understand why there is such a rush or a need to actually evict them come June.”

“My personal preference on this one is that we allow them to stay until that building actually comes [into] a state of complete disrepair which then poses risk.”

The society said it will continue to assume liability and maintain insurance on the building, as well as carry out any repairs.

White said that if the society did have to rent another space, its budget is only around $400 per month. If it was forced to pay more than that, the cost of carnival tickets would likely have to increase and it would likely mean fewer events.

City staff is going to bring more background information back to council in the coming months, and council will make a decision on whether or not to force the society out of their office in June.

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