The Government Agent is back in Kelowna.
Sixteen years after the NDP government of the day closed the Government Agent’s office, as it was known then, its Liberal successor has re-opened it with a new title, Service B.C.
The office, located on the third floor of an office building beside the Scotia Bank on Bernard Avenue downtown, was opened Friday by Kelonwa Mayor Walter Gray, office staff and the area’s three MLAs, including Ben Stewart, B.C. Minister of Citizen Services and Open Government, whose ministry oversees Service B.C.
The office has been quietly operating for the last week and includes a relocated Vital Statistics Agency and and Residential Tenancy Branch.
The Vital Statistics Agency registers all births, marriages, deaths and changes of name that occur in British Columbia. The certificates issued by the agency are legal proof of identity.
The Residential Tenancy Branch provides landlords and tenants with information and dispute resolution services.
Government Agent Eric Breitkreuz said the Kelowna office will provide a one-stop shop for people dealing with hundreds of other provincial government services.
Stewart said Central Okanagan area residents will no longer will need to travel to Penticton or Vernon Service B.C. centres to access any of the close to 700 services connected to 2,500 government programs.
He said the idea of reopening a Service B.C. office in Kelowna came from local constituent who asked his colleague MLA Norm Letnick two years ago to look at getting the government agent back in Kelowna.
The office, located at 478 Bernard Avenue, is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is the is the 61 Service B.C. Centre the province.