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West Kelowna city hall project headed to referendum

An artist drawing of the proposed new West Kelowna municipal hall.
Image Credit: City of West Kelowna
May 11, 2016 - 3:24 PM

WEST KELOWNA - After an alternative approval process got enough signatures to stop council from borrowing $10.5 million from taxpayers, the path to a new city hall now leads through a referendum.

After receiving more than the 10 per cent of signatures needed to stop the borrowing, council is left with only two options. This week, council agreed unanimously to proceed to a referendum, rather than scrap the idea all together. Under the Local Government Act, however, the city is required to hold the referendum within 80 days of May 3, the deadline for the alternative approval process.

That, according to a summary of meeting minutes, is too soon for council.

“Council agreed this was not an ideal time to hold a vote and, instead, requested the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development be asked agree to an extension of a further 80 days to allow the referendum to be held in September,” the summary says.

The public-private partnership would have included a city hall, an office building and two residential buildings and council must also seek permission from the developer of the West Kelowna Civic Centre, Strategic Development Group, as well as Interior Health, which was to be a tenant in the 32,000-square-foot West Kelowna Civic Centre at Elliott Road for the extension.

If the alternative approval process had succeeded, taxpayers would have been on the hook for up to $10.5 million of the estimated $14.8 million city hall portion.


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