January 15, 2016 - 6:00 AM
PENTICTON - Penticton’s public buildings are getting old and in need of repair, replacement or upgrades, city council learned this week.
Council received an overview of the city's Facitlities Master Plan from its consultant which says the 25 facilities have an average age of 40 years and repairs or upgrades in the order of $31 million will be needed over the next 10 years.
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit says the city and council now need to wrestle with the prospect of repairing, replacing or consolidating some of its facilities. The repairs and upgrades are projected to cost $3 million annually, compared to a maintenance budget that currently only spends $1 million.
Jakubeit says the problem council faces is how to address that financial gap - and can the city gain efficiencies by making more efficient use of its assets by combining several facilities under one roof.
He uses the example of the convention centre to illustrate his point.
“The convention centre averages out to an age of 36 years old. It’s projected to have about $4 million in repairs and upgrades over the next 10 years. If the convention business is changing, do we look at that, or how else can we change that space to a more multi-purpose space? We’re starting to look at those sorts of things,” Jakubeit says.
Memorial Arena is another building council will need to decide what to do with over the next decade. The 64-year-old arena was earmarked in a consultant’s study for $6 million worth of repairs and upgrades, when the city could build a new rink for between $8 to $13 million.
“There’s an example. Do you repair or replace? Memorial Arena is one of our most iconic buildings, it has a storied history and is of significant importance to the community, so do you want to restore that?” Jakubeit says.
No decisions have been made, the mayor notes, adding the presentation was meant to bring focus to council regarding the aging condition of many of the city’s facilities.
Jakubeit says the 2016 budget has already been impacted by recent repairs to Memorial Arena’s dressing room roofs and other repairs to the soccer bubble.
Next steps involve a request to staff for more information and development of a plan to deal with the issue. Following that council would seek community engagement regarding possible options, the costs of which could then be put forward for inclusion in the city’s 2017 budget.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016