Tourism Kelowna has secured a $500,000 grant from the provincial government which will be used as part of the funding for the new $2.8 million dollar Visitor Centre. The provincial government grant was contingent on a development permit being issued by the City of Kelowna and that permit was granted on Tuesday June 27, 2017.
“The provincial government offered the grant as part of its year end grant process in March,” says Tourism Kelowna Chair Daniel Bibby. “Even though we received the cheque in April, our board decided we should wait until final Council approval and wait until the development permit was official before we announced it. Had council denied the development permit, the money would have been returned.”
Bibby says Tourism Kelowna didn’t want to prejudge the outcome at City Council by announcing the grant in March or April before Council considered the development permit. “It would have been inappropriate at that time to presume that Council would approve the project. There was still work being done drawing up final plans with our architects and Council could have voted the project down.”
Tourism Kelowna has a mortgage secured for the project. It has also been seeking a federal grant along with private sector sponsors.
“We were hoping to be able to announce the source of all the funding today but negotiations continue with various parties,” says Bibby. “Our objective is to break ground this fall and open the new Visitor Centre by next September.”
The provincial grant was approved as part of a regular process of government which issues grants as the year end draws to a close at the end of March.
“We wish to thank our local MLA’s who support this project and helped us secure this important funding,” says Bibby.