West Kelowna council applauded for cop shop construction decision

The final numbers are in and it turns out that even though West Kelowna included more than $390,000 worth of additions to the district’s new RCMP building, the facility still came in under budget.

According to figures released by the district’s finance department, the RCMP detachment’s final cost was $8.43 million, including the additions such as the environmentally-friendly grass roof. The budget for the project was $8.46 million.

That figure was lowered from the original estimate of $9.4 million when the building was envisioned in 2008, prior to the former West Kelowna council  taking over the project from the regional district after incorporation.

The new council reviewed the project and decided to retender it. By doing so, the district benefitted from lower construction costs at the time.

The building, which was recently recognized at the Westbank and District Chamber of Commerce Key Business Awards for business beautification, opened in October and is expected to be given LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold certification for its environmentally-friendly construction and operation. The LEED gold certification is expected to take about a year to come through.

The curved-roof building, at the south end of the Westbank town centre, houses the West Kelowna RCMP and also has space for public meetings.

Coun. Gord Milson noted the building was the first major project undertaken by the municipality after incorporation, and he was happy to see it come in under budget. “That was the way to get it done,” he said.

Dave Slobodan, West Kelowna’s director of building and regulatory services, credited the former council with calling a halt to the regional district’s plan, one made when construction was very busy in the Central Okanagan and as a result costs were high.

By taking a step back and reviewing the original tender process coupled with a cooling off in the over-heated construction market at the time, Slobodan said the project’s cost was lowered.

“That was a tough decision to make at the time. I have to take my hat off to (council). It was an excellent job.”