City of West Kelowna finds site for new city hall

“Its going to be a building our residents can be proud of,” West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom said.

The site for West Kelowna’s first ever city hall has now been chosen.

The city hall will be built on a vacant lot, next to the Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre.

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Milsom said this is a step the city has been waiting to take for a long time.

“This is a wonderful step forward for our residents. City hall offices have been in temporary facilities for 13 years,” Milsom said.

“We have our employees working in different locations, so it has been somewhat dysfunctional. Now we will be able to bring all of our employees under one roof and be much more efficient.”

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The new city hall is budgeted at $18 million and according to the city, the cost will be fully covered under the existing budget.

According to the provincial government, if a city’s current debt is below five per cent of its annual revenue, the city is allowed to borrow against it, referendum-free.

That will enable the City of West Kelowna to borrow up to $11 million, plus it will dip into a reserve fund that’s expected to be $7 million by 2022.

That means no increase in taxes for West Kelowna residents.

“What we’ve been doing each year is moving about $700,000 from reserves into the city hall reserve,” Milsom told Global News on Saturday.

“That’s already in place so there would be no additional tax dollars required from West Kelowna residents, its all in the existing budget.”

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The new site will also have a plethora of other civil amenities, according to Milsom.

“In the area, there will be other civic services including, the Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre, the Anette Beaudreau Amphitheatre and Memorial Park,” Milsom said.

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“Plus, the Okanangan Regional Library will be an equity partner. They will have one-third of the space and we will have two-thirds.”

The city is also working in collaboration with the Westbank First Nation to incorporate traditional Indigenous art and culture into the new facility.

Construction is projected to begin in the summer.

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