Penticton city staff looking at viability of merging RDOS and City Hall buildings

RDOS and City Hall merge?

The City of Penticton and Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen are dipping their toes into potentially moving to a shared government space, to cut down on footprint and increase efficiency.

A report from Colliers Workplace Advisory presented to Penticton council Tuesday estimated co-locating could reduce real estate needs by 2,100 square feet, or 20 per cent.

Currently, the RDOS and city operate adjacent to each other on Martin Street and Main Street. The RDOS floated the idea of a shared corporate office facility in January, after discovering during the pandemic that their current offices are a little tight.

The Colliers report noted that operations of both the city and RDOS could support the co-location of "almost all administrative and council functions."

The study used 200 staff members as its benchmark, although the current number between both government organizations is 171, to allow for projected staffing growth.

It recommends additional meeting rooms, digitization of files and better efficiency in space planning such as hybrid or desk-sharing models.

The study was ordered as part of a larger assets management examination, which looked at what to do with the aging building that is City Hall — leave it be, renovate or expand, or even replace. The city is currently seeking public feedback on plans for City Hall among other older municipal assets.

Staff said there is no estimate of cost at this early stage.

"At this stage, this is just looking at the concept of a co-location. There has been no work done with regards to costing out what this would mean. We are just entertaining the idea, and the possibility of co-location,” said general manager of finance Jim Bauer.

Staff said this is a project maybe looked at in five to ten years. It will require further conversations between the two government organizations.

Council expressed some interest in looking further into the concept, accepting the report into the record to be incorporated into ongoing staff studies on the future aging city buildings.

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