Why workers at some City Halls must take holidays in December | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna News

Why workers at some City Halls must take holidays in December

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THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Civic governments in Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton keep their main offices open over the holidays but they do it a little differently in the Central Okanagan.

City Halls in both West Kelowna and Kelowna will be closed for the week between Christmas and New Years along with the offices of the Central Okanagan Regional District.

City of Kelowna human resources director Stu Leatherdale says the practice began roughly five years ago when it became clear Kelowna City Hall was a dead zone over the holidays, with front line staff waiting around for customers that were few and far between.

“There is a bit of a cost savings. It’s a period of very low demand for public services,” he says. "There’s not a lot of foot traffic. Staff have to take holidays over that time, so they’re not sitting around doing nothing and it saves money not having to open up the building.”

Other staff that didn’t take holidays found productivity ground to a halt.

“They’re holding meetings, but half the people you need to meet with are gone,” he says.

Kamloops and Penticton city halls will be open regular hours over the holidays, but closed Dec. 25, Dec. 28 and Jan. 1. Vernon city hall closes at 2 p.m. Dec. 24 and remains closed through Dec. 28. It closes at 2 p.m. Dec. 31 reopening again Jan. 5 at regular hours.

Kelowna lists the holiday hours of all its facilities on its website. City hall is closed from Dec. 25 to Jan. 4.

West Kelowna’s municipal hall and the regional district offices are also closed Dec. 25 to Jan. 4.

Keep in mind, this is only City Hall office workers. In all municipalities, a number of civic operations must still carry on including utilities services, recreation facilities and road maintenance.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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