To the editor:
With reference to the two recent submissions by T. Kinsman and Doug Waines, I would like to add my amen. West Kelowna council really needs to re-assess its position on spending the estimated $10 million plus dollars (which will surely balloon) for a new city hall.
I must also give a heartfelt thanks to the volunteers who fought valiantly on our behalf to force a referendum, in spite of the lack of co-operation and barriers put up by council to thwart it.
We have a duplicity of available office space lying unoccupied in West Kelowna. Let’s look at the Zellers building—lots of floor space, one level (great for wheel chair access) tons of parking and central. Moving up the highway: A brand new, never been occupied, 15-year-old, four-storey office tower and the old Sears building, all with adequate parking and central, begging for a tenant.
We could defer this crushing tax increase for at least 20 years by inking a well-negotiated lease (including some updates and improvements) while meeting the needs of city hall.
We need to keep reminding city hall that they are the collective employees of the taxpayers of West Kelowna. We elected/hired them to run our community, this is not a monarchy, it is a democracy, we are not their servants, they are ours.
The concept of competitive bids and arms-length dealings on all major financial commitments will always be of concern to all taxpayers, why do we have to fight city hall to get this?
As mentioned also, we need to have the wording, monitoring and auditing of all referendums handled by a reputable accounting firm that will not bleed us white in costs to accomplish this. To have DWC draft the referendum is a glaring conflict of interest as their intentions are suspect. Past referendums (the name choice of West Kelowna or Westbank) was crafted to confuse the electorate and ensure the result that we have today. I ended up voting opposite to what I wanted due to this subterfuge.
While we are on the topic of money, I have suggested to city hall to think outside the box when it comes to raising funds for any project instead of perpetually increasing our taxes.
One suggestion was to seek sponsorships from major suppliers and contracting companies. We run an expensive fleet of nice white trucks and vehicles, Makita, Stihl, Plumbing suppliers etc. would pay to have their logo on our trucks instead of a “DWC Utility Decal” on the door similar to Transit buses. They showed no interest.
All of us working in the private sector know how hard it is to generate the money to run our city, our counselors need to know this too. Also, to be responsive to the wish of the electorate and know that we are watching and very concerned how our money is being spent.
Brian R. Mellis, West Kelowna