Council on board with IH move
Aug 21, 2012 / 11:11 am
A plan to relocate Interior Health administrative offices to downtown Kelowna has received a rousing endorsement from Kelowna Council.
Councillors unanimously endorsed the plan Monday which would see administrative offices built on the site of what is now a parking lot across from Memorial Arena at the corner of Doyle Avenue and Ellis Street.
The city owns the land.
The plan also calls for construction on a new parkade on the site of a current parking lot between Memorial Arena and the Kelowna Museum as well as expansion of the Library Parkade.
Acting Corporate Sustainability GM, Doug Gilchrest, says the three projects will provide between $40M and $50M in construction activity.
Cost of constructing the new parkade and renovating the Library Parkade is pegged at $19M. Approximately $4M would come from sale of the property to Interior Health, parking reserves and other revenues.
The additional $15M would be borrowed over a 30 year period from the Municipal Finance Authority.
Because the money would be borrowed over greater than five years, it will require electoral approval.
That approval would come in the form of an Alternative Approval Process (AAP).
Councillors were unanimous in their praise of the project.
"I don't want to sound overly dramatic but this is probably the biggest decision we're going to make in our term," says Basran.
"Look at everything else that's going on, the Bernard Avenue revitalization, new yacht club, down the road a new RCMP Detachment, marina, hopefully the Aquilini's get going with their project on Bernard and a few other things that may be potentially coming down the road and things we have already given approval to."
Basran says downtown Kelowna will have a very different look and feel in three years.
" It will finally be the heart of our city and that's really exciting."
Councillor Andre Blanleil says he believes the Interior Health project is one of the biggest things that could happen in downtown's history, bigger than Prospera Place was at the time.
"A thousand good paying jobs downtown does nothing but good for downtown," stated Blanleil.
"I think it will help our condo market which has struggled the last couple of years, it will help the business people downtown by putting working people downtown to spend money downtown."
Councillor Mohini Singh stated the announcement signifies the city is taking control of its own economy.
"This will not just make our downtown a vibrant, happening place, but it will give our citizens a sense that we are moving forward, things are happening."
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