A West Kelowna resident is calling on the local government to stop construction on a new city hall building.
Dustin Herbst put together a petition urging the city’s council not to go ahead with a new building. He said now is simply not the time to think about a new building, when the money could be put towards something else, like helping residents who need financial relief.
“With the economic downturn, a lot of people are suffering in the community. I just feel that it’s an irresponsible decision to be spending millions of dollars right now for a city hall building,” he said.
The City of West Kelowna is aware of the petition, city staff said in a statement.
“We’re not sure of the purpose of the petition since the project is on the back burner and our focus is helping residents and businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring priority operations and essential services continue during these challenging times,” they said.
Mayor Gord Milson confirmed the project is not a priority for the council at the moment.
“We have shifted our focus to dealing with the impact of COVID-19 and keeping our number one infrastructure project – Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant – moving forward,” he said.
“We’re also continuing with another key infrastructure priority project, which is improving the Glenrosa/McIver transportation corridor.”
He added the city will keep residents informed when it comes time for council to revisit the city hall project.
But Herbst said it’s one thing to say that the project isn’t a priority and another thing to have that confirmed in official writing.
“When you check the city’s site and the minutes, building the new city hall is still a go. Granted, it doesn’t sound like they’ll break ground next week but still every month, they’re still putting money towards this, getting research done and permits in place,” Herbst said. “What we’re looking for is something firmly in writing from the city saying that ‘we’re not going to proceed with this project until a better economic situation comes’.”