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New site for civic hall

West Kelowna has chosen a site and a potential builder for the district's new Municipal Hall.

The Municipal Hall/Civic Centre will be built at 3641 Elliott Road.

Following a four month bid process, Mayor Doug Findlater announced Tuesday that council had selected the New Town/Sturgess Group proposal from the four proponents invited to submit bids.

The municipality will now enter into negotiations with New Town/Sturgess Group regarding its proposed development at the site.

At the end of January, the municipality announced it had shortlisted four proponents and four possible locations - two on Elliott Road, one on Brown Road and one on Main Street.

"The response we received from the four proponents was exceptional with a great deal of effort and attention put into the submissions," said Findlater.

"We truly had some exciting opportunities to consider and engaged in detailed debate on the merits of all the submissions."

The three unsuccessful bidders will be given a $25,000 honorarium for their submissions.

The municipality says the honorarium ensured it received quality submissions. The municipality now owns the intellectual property.

"The process itself has resulted in an excellent option for the development of a municipal hall, and more importantly, the potential for economic revitalization of West Kelowna, Council's key priority since incorporation," said Findlater.

The conceptual design sumbitted by New Town/Sturgess Group calls for a two-phased approach.

The first phase includes:

  • A 24,015 square foot Municipal Hall, owned by the District
  • The Option to include 7,000 square feet of expansion or lease space in the Municipal Hall
  • One residential building, owned by the developer
  • A Public Plaza, owned by the developer
  • One office building with a commercial component on lower level, owned by the developer
  • A Café plaza near the commercial area, owned by the developer
  • Underground and above-ground parking - (Municipal Hall parking will be owned by the District)

The second phase would include:

  • A second residential building, built when market justifies a second building

The area for the second building would be landscaped in Phase 1 and incorporated into the public plaza until the time of Phase 2 construction.

Preliminary estimates have placed the cost of the development of the Municipal Hall/Civic Centre at $8.9-million, including the land, and the municipality would own the building and the land it sits on when the project is complete.

Additional funds will be required for project contingency. The District anticipates the cost to build the municipal hall can be assumed within the municipality’s current budget without any additional tax burden on residents over what is in the current 10-year financial plan.

The District is also actively seeking funding opportunities, partnerships with other governmental agencies, and leasing opportunities to offset the costs of this project.

West Kelowna residents will be asked to indicate their support for the potential borrowing of funds to complete the project, through either an alternate approval process before the November municipal election or a referendum in conjunction with the election.

“Council is excited to share with the public what we envision for our community’s Municipal Hall/Civic Centre, and what New Town/Sturgess has proposed. We believe that this proposal meets our needs for municipal operations, and will also provide a kick start to the economic activity West Kelowna needs,” said Findlater.

“We are steadfast in our belief that a key to revitalization is bringing residents to the area and are pleased with the residential component of the proposal. The community is in need of a public plaza, a gathering place for our celebrations and ceremonies, and we are focusing on bringing key public agencies together into the second office building, bringing West Kelowna’s civic service to one area to better serve our residents.”

Findlater did caution there are many steps still to be taken before any shovels hit the ground.

“We will now begin the detailed negotiation and planning of this project. Details like site servicing, zoning, permits, ministry approvals, potential partnership opportunities and borrowing considerations are now on deck for us to tackle," said Findlater.

"There’s still a long way to go, but I know that I speak for all Council when I say we are very glad to be at a point where we know where we want our Civic Centre to be, and are seeing the vision of this project come to life. This project is complimented by the work we are doing to establish our works yard in Boucherie Centre and eventually returning our temporary municipal hall, Mt. Boucherie Community Hall, to its former use as a community centre.”

Ironically, the chosen site on Elliott Road was the second choice among respondents to the January poll.

The Elliott Road site was favoured by 15 per cent of respondents while the former Cattle Country mall site on Main Street was preferred by more than 71per cent of people taking the poll.

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