Letter: AAP started to oppose building new West Kelowna city hall

The proposal is to borrow $10.5 million…the city will also use over $4 million from our reserve accounts brings us to…almost $15 million.

To the editor:

The Alternative Approval Process (AAP) is truly an underhand tool for politicians to achieve their desire. The perfect example of this is the City of West Kelowna’s determination to build a city hall on Elliott Road in the “West Kelowna Downtown core”— quote of location taken from January 2016 West Kelowna News.)

This location is in direct opposition to the recommendations of the Westside Governance Committee that a civic hall be centrally located in the municipality. Yet all current city councillors—with the exception of Rosalind Neis—were members of that committee.

The city has resorted to the AAP instead of holding a referendum. If you do not agree with the proposal to borrow $10.5 million you have to get a form and fill it in and return it to the city in person or by mail. As the city will also be using over $4 million from our reserve accounts, this brings us to a starting point of almost $15 million.

Faxed or emailed forms are not acceptable. Each form must have an original signature.  Each form can only be used by one person. Therefore if there is a family with four eligible voters who are against the borrowing proposal, they would have to complete and submit four forms.

Huge concerns about the accurate costing of the proposed city hall exist, as they did for the Royal LePage Arena.

The original cost of the arena was estimated to be $5.1 million. Taxpayers agreed in a referendum to borrow $3.2 million to fund it. When the RDCO handed the building over to the District of West Kelowna, the cost was well over $13 million and it was still unfinished. Close to $1 million more has been spent finishing the geothermal heating system, adding a dry floor and correcting mistakes in original construction; article was dated April 2011).

The Royal LePage arena project lacked adequate controls and clearly defined accountability. Also, the public’s consent for the huge cost increases was not obtained.

It is plainly obvious that few projects come in on budget and the proposed Taj Mahal—sorry, city hall, has the probability of exceeding its budget in a big way even with tight controls in place.

This time around there is no referendum, so we must get enough people to fill in an Alternative Approval form saying they do not agree to this borrowing.

A number of concerned citizens have formed a group to try and ensure that we get the required number of signatures to prevent the city borrowing $10.5 million on our behalf.

To make it easier for the public to sign an AAP form we will be setting up tables at various locations in West Kelowna from now until the end of April. Forms will be available for signature and we will ensure they are delivered to the city.

For information on signing sites, call Ian Graham 250 707 3493 or iangrah@outlook.net

Heather Yeats, West Kelowna