The City of West Kelowna will be working closely with Westbank First Nation (WFN) on its new city hall, as more details of the construction emerge.
The new four-storey building will be divided between the West Kelowna branch of the Okanagan Regional Library as well as the city hall, which will be the first time the city’s administration will have its own space.
It has been proposed that the library will be on the ground floor. The second floor will be the city hall’s main floor, which will include council chambers, the main lobby with elevators, a staircase, as well as the front counter. Staff workstations will also be located on this floor. The third floor and fourth floors will include a small reception area, meeting rooms, a lunchroom, as well as more staff work areas and storage rooms.
Currently, the city is working with local MPs and MLAs to accommodate them on the building’s second floor. In total, the building will be 51,000 square feet.
The city also announced that it will be collaborating with WFN to develop an Indigenous Engagement strategy, with the goal of including employment, mentorship, and training opportunities for WFN members at the site.
According to WFN, they will also be involved in developing cultural and artistic opportunities at the site.
In a statement, the First Nation said member contractors and suppliers have been identified and have been encouraged to put in their inquiries and bids, which will then be recommended to the City of West Kelowna for final evaluation.
“Additionally, each contractor is to employ at least one skilled or unskilled WFN member, member spouse or partner, or member dependent for the duration of the various contracts,” WFN said.
Before construction can move ahead, however, a skatepark to the north of the Johnson-Bentley Aquatic Centre has to be relocated within the Agricultural Land Reserve, which means the city had to apply for non-farm use to be able to build on the land. The city said the Agricultural Land Commission panel will meet shortly to consider the application.
Overall, the city hall project is moving forward within the scheduled time and the $18 million budget allotted for it.
The new building is set to be completed by the end of 2022.