City of West Kelowna moves forward with first-ever city hall

The City of West Kelowna announced that city council has approved a new plan for a new city hall on Wednesday.

“It’s a very exciting day for the council and the city. We announced, we are moving forward with the borrowing option for our first city hall,” Paul Gipps, City of West Kelowna’s chief administrative officer.

Read more: City of West Kelowna looks to long-term borrowing for new water treatment plant

Defined by the Province of B.C. 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 allow West Kelowna to borrow up to $11 million plus they’ll dip into a reserve fund that’s expected to swell to $7 million by 2022. 

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Now, West Kelowna residents react to news the city is moving forward with a new city hall facility, a project that’s not being done through referendum.

“I think it’s about time, we’ve been a city now for way too long. And I don’t think it’s fair for the workers to be all over the place. We need a central place,” said Brenda Johnson.

“It’s just time. It’s time we have our own city hall and become our own city.”

Another West Kelowna resident was supportive of the new project, as long as taxes don’t increase.

“To me, the water treatment facility is much more important, and as long as both can be funded without more taxpayer requirements, I’m ok with it,” said Ray Houghton.

“Obviously, they need the space, we are a growing city. They can’t continue to work out of their current facilities.”

Read more: West Kelowna neighbourhood facing tax hike to pay for new water treatment plant

Now, the question that looms is whether the new project will increase taxes for West Kelowna residents.

“We’ve been putting this money aside so we won’t be increasing taxes and we don’t intend to,” said Gipps.

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“We think there is enough ample funds to build what we need.”

The City of West Kelowna says staff are narrowing the search for a new city hall location. They say they’ll have a better idea of what the building will look like and where it’s going in a month.

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