Penticton city council is bailing out the Shatford Centre and Okanagan School of the Arts to the tune of at least $47,000 in a bid to keep the society operational.
Council voted Tuesday to provide the funding to offset electrical bills and short-term operating expenses, two days prior to an OSA special meeting Thursday night for which the non-profit gave notice to its members of possible vote for dissolution.
OSA board president Robin Robertson was before council asking for a total of $132,000, with the additional $85,000 requested for “critical building upgrades.”
The OSA is working to transition from its previous, unsustainable, business model focused on single events to one anchored by long-term tenants within the historic Shatford Centre.
Robertson explained they have been working to attract tenants, like the already-moved-in Penticton Indian Band economic development branch, but have “run out of runway” while being hamstrung by the condition of the nearly 100-year-old building.
She said upgrades to the city’s heating and air conditioning system are critical.
Council ultimately voted unanimously to grant the OSA $47,000, but were hesitant to contribute anything further without a formal business plan or quotes for needed repairs from the nonprofit. Council directed staff to work with the OSA to look into additional funding for building repairs once more precise figures can be determined.
OSA members will still meet Thursday at 6 p.m. to examine options to get the society onto a sustainable road.
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