Paul Crawford, the Penticton Art Gallery curator and director, running the 42nd annual live art auction on June 27. The sold event drew over 180 people to support the gallery. (Brennan Phillips - Wester News)

Council approves over $23,000 for Penticton Art Gallery due to break-in expenses

The city opted to cover the costs associated with the break-ins, not the cost of HVAC repairs

Penticton city council has agreed to bail out the Penticton Art Gallery to the tune of $23,463.94 due to unexpected costs associated with four recent break-ins at the gallery.

Council heard a presentation from staff that summarized the gallery’s request for $23,463.94 due to “a series of break-ins and mechanical equipment’s repairs required” and $5,500 for HVAC repairs. Staff clarified the city’s current obligations to the non-profit society and the property and building it operates out of, located at 199 Marina Way, stating that the building is owned by the society until the end of its current 20-year nominal lease on city-owned land, which is due to expire in September 2019, and then will become city property.

Paul Crawford, the director and curator for the gallery, said that the gallery’s insurance deductible was “far higher than the claim would be,” thus going through insurance to cover the cost of repairs was not an option.

The gallery also recently hosted its annual auction fundraiser, through which it aimed to recoup some of these unexpected costs, but Coun. Jake Kimberley clarified that gallery donors donate because of their appreciation for the arts and the services the gallery provides, not for maintenance.

READ MORE: Penticton Art Gallery in need of community support following break ins

This year, the city has already provided just under $250,000 to the gallery through a $125,000 municipal grant, the $97,500 nominal lease and $18,428 through permissive tax exemption. Council was presented with four options in relation to the proposal, which involved either outright denying the request, paying it in full or paying a certain percentage of the amount requested.

Coun. Campbell Watt stated he was cautious of the precedent it sets to provide the funding request to the non-profit society, since other associations such as the curling club or golf course pay for their own maintenance expenses. Kimberley clarified that these expenses were not a result of not up-keeping maintenance, but due to crime activity that was out of the gallery’s control.

After discussion, council voted unanimously to fund the entire portion of the request due to the break-in costs, for a total of $23,463.94, with $3,266 coming from the unallocated grant budget and the rest through administrative savings. Council opted to not foot the bill for the gallery’s HVAC repair costs of $5,500.

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Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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