A brand new City Hall in West Kelowna may be years away, but the district took one step closer Tuesday.
Jonathan Huggett, a consultant with over 40 years of experience working with municipal, provincial and federal governments on various infrastructure projects, spoke to council at Tuesday’s meeting.
Huggett mentioned some of the challenges the district will face regarding the development of a new City Hall, including location, funding and economic development.
He recommended the district create a market sounding document to seek out ideas and potential site opportunities to build a new City Hall.
The purpose of the non-binding document is to gather information from key stakeholders so the district can develop an effective strategy.
Huggett said the market sounding will explain the district’s vision, ask questions and give space for additional input.
“It outlines where we might go with this, but there’s no commitment to proceed forward with this if we don’t get satisfactory answers,” said Huggett.
He added it is “a means of engaging the business community and the community at large, about what the issues are proceeding with this.”
In 2009, construction was completed on the Boucherie Centre Municipal Hall. Last year, a study determined the facility was at capacity and council was forced to convert the existing community portable into office space.
Coun. Rick de Jong said he was excited to get the ball rolling on the long-term project.
“Last year we struggled as a local government: Do we put more money into this facility? Do we start thinking of planning for the future? Do we start to build a vision?” said de Jong.
“We need to start moving forward, dare to dream, dare to build a vision. This is going to be a long process, we need to make sure we are engaging the community and our business partners and thinking outside the box.”
Mayor Doug Findlater said the document should promote a lot of discussion within the community.
“I think it will give us a sense of direction…it may even generate some opportunities by putting it out there,” said Findlater.
Council unanimously directed staff to proceed with the market sounding exercise for a new City Hall/Civic Centre on the Westside.