Letter: Vote YES committee launches first salvo on West Kelowna Civic Centre

"On September 17th, West Kelowna residents will have the opportunity to be part of the future of our city."

To the editor:

West Kelowna is the “place to be” in the Okanagan. There are so many experiences to be enjoyed by both residents and visitors—our rich history, wineries, the farm loop, beaches, spectacular views, hiking trails, parks, music in the park concerts, and so much more. No wonder our population has grown by more than 20 per cent since 2007, the year our community was incorporated. West Kelowna is now the Okanagan’s third largest city.

However, in order for the City of West Kelowna to meet the service expectations of our growing number of residents and new businesses, investment in municipal infrastructure needs to take place. A new city hall is a must because our municipality has simply outgrown its current administrative facility, the former Mount Boucherie community hall. It’s time that West Kelowna invests in a permanent city hall which will provide space for city workers for decades to come.

On September 17th, West Kelowna residents will have the opportunity to be part of the future of our city. You will be asked to approve borrowing funds to construct new city administrative offices which we can all be proud of.

The interest rate on the debt will only be 2.6 per cent. The City of West Kelowna has already budgeted the debt payments in the city’s 10-year financial plan and has been building reserves since its incorporation in 2007. There will be no additional tax increases over the budgeted annual three per cent increase.

The city has consulted with the public and has done its due diligence on this project over the past three years. The result is a project in which the City of West Kelowna will partner with a private developer to build a $31-million West Kelowna Civic Centre located in Westbank Centre, West Kelowna’s historic downtown area, which will include the city hall owned by the city, an office building, residential building and a public plaza owned by the developer.

The office building will become the new home of the West Kelowna Health Centre. Interior Health Authority has indicated that it will be consolidating all its currently offered services at the new Civic Centre, as well as expanding some services not currently offered on the Westside.

The existing temporary municipal hall will be returned to its past and always intended use as a community hall.

West Kelowna is a growing city and investment in municipal infrastructure and community amenities are needed and expected. Now is the time for us to continue to build our community. Vote YES on September 17.

Gord Milsom & Peter Wannop

co-chairs, YES to the Civic Centre Committee,

West Kelowna