The Daily Courier
City Hall plans moving ahead
Council was expected to start awarding contracts on Tuesday with construction to begin in the summer
A purpose-built city hall for West Kelowna is planned for downtown Westbank next to the Johnson-Bentley swimming pool.
Plans that were to be reviewed by city council on Tuesday show a 45,000 square-foot building, twothirds of which will be for municipal purposes and one-third of which will serve as the new West Kelowna branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.
The city’s share of the project will be up to $18 million, with the ORL also contributing toward construction costs.
At Tuesday’s meeting, council was expected to award a $953,000 design contract to Johnston Davidson Architecture, one of 18 companies that bid on the project.
Pending council approval, construction would start this summer.
Westside residents voted in 2007 to set up their own municipality. Plans for a city hall were defeated
by voters in a 2016 referendum.
But city officials have revived the idea, saying it’s no longer practical or desirable to have the municipality’s 256 employees
working out of a variety of premises described as too small.
Last year, city council approved an $11 million borrowing scheme that did not require another referendum to be held. The borrowed funds will be added to $7 million to be taken from municipal reserves.
“Proper administration offices are long overdue,” Mayor Gord Milsom said when council approved the funding formula in February.
It’s not clear what might happen to a skateboard park immediately north of the Johnson-Bentley swimming pool.
“It’s too early to say. As we are at the concept stage, all the information we have at the moment is what you see in the Jan. 26 report to council,” city spokesman Jason Luciw wrote in an email.
The skateboard park, which replaced a decrepit one that was decades-old, opened in 2016 with funding that included a $315,000 federal grant.
While the proposed city hall and library would be built on municipal land, the site would be somewhat separated from both Highway 97 and Old Okanagan Highway by land owned by the Westbank First Nation.
A line in the report to council states: “Staff are collaborating on area and site opportunities with WFN, including incorporating Indigenous art and culture as we look to the future.”