West Kelowna  

West Kelowna considering $8 million loan for new fire hall

Loan needed for fire hall

The City of West Kelowna is considering using the alternative approval process (AAP) to get public approval to borrow $8 million towards the cost of a new fire Hall in Lakeview Heights.

The 52-year-old existing fire hall is one of two primary halls used by West Kelowna Fire Rescue to provide around-the-clock emergency response in the community. A facility assessment in 2012 identified the building as reaching the end of its functional operating life.

In addition to responding to calls within eight kilometres of the hall, WKFD crews stationed there also respond to calls on the nearby Westbank First Nation reserves and back up the city’s main fire hall, located in Westbank.

The city also has two smaller halls in Glenrosa and Rose Valley, staffed by paid on-call rural firefighters.

The new firehall would be built at 860 Anders Road, according to the city report going to city council next week.

The entire project would include a two-storey, 11,500-square-foot firehall, as well as a new 1,400-square-foot community space building to replace the existing and aging 1,000-square-foot Lakeview Heights Community Centre, more parking, replacement of the existing sports courts, playground and pickleball facilities with new pickleball courts and a new playground.

The total projected for the entire project is $14.3 million, with $3 million to come from city reserves, $1.1 million from parks development cost charges, $1.1 million from operating surpluses and $150,000 from developer contributions in addition to the $8 million to be borrowed.

According to the city, a traditional referendum to gain approval for the borrowing would cost $50,000, while the AAP would cost $10,000.

Under the AAP, opponents would have 30 days to submit forms opposing the proposed borrowing. If 10% of eligible voters reject the proposal, the city council would have to reconsider it and either hold a referendum, change the plan or scrap it.

The staff report says the entire project would provide a new firehall with room for future growth, improved community space, improved park space and project development and a design consistent with the city’s new official community plan and council's strategic priorities.

Council will consider the staff recommendation to use the AAP to seek resident approval to borrow the money for the project at its next meeting on Nov. 28.

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