Photo Credit: District of West Kelowna
Residents of West Kelowna already enjoy a wonderful quality of life, and it's about to get even better with the addition of a new Civic Centre with a health centre.
The mayor of West Kelowna, Doug Findlater, recently called a press conference to announce that the centre is currently in the works. It will be built on Elliot Road in West Kelowna and will house the district's new municipal building. Also included in the complex will be residential buildings, an office building and a public plaza. A tentative deal has been struck between the municipality and Interior Health for lease space in the proposed centre.
An administrator for the integrated health services division of Interior Health noted that West Kelowna already has several health-related services. However, residents of West Kelowna frequently must travel across the bridge to Kelowna for appointments as the current services on the West side are not adequate to serve the current population. The current population of West Kelowna is 32,700 with a 2.4% growth rates every year. The average age of a West Kelowna resident is older at 43.5 years.
Interior Health is keen to bring specialized health care service to West Kelowna, such as public health, community rehab, in-home health care and addiction/mental health care.
Talks regarding funding for the Civic Centre are nearly finished. Once the project is signed off, the municipality would like to take the project to West Kelowna citizens for fiscal approval. Construction of the new Civic Centre is projected to be $10 million. Mayor Findlater stated that a tax increase is not required to fund the new centre as it falls within their 10-year capital plan. He supports getting citizens of West Kelowna on board by taking it to a referendum as to whether the municipality should borrow the funds. Council will ultimately decide upon the final approval process next month.
Findlater told media that the financial burden of the project is significant enough that he wants taxpayers to give the green light. The loan to build the project will easily be disbursed once the centre is built as it will bring in addition tax revenue to the municipality through jobs, an increased tax base and stimulation of other construction projects in the downtown area. Findlater believes more than 300 jobs will directly and indirectly be created through this project.
The municipality has been working on the design of the new civic centre with Strategic Development Group.
This project is just one of many other infrastructure projects undertaken by West Kelowna in the past few years that will greatly benefit the municipality for decades into the future. Other projects have included:
- Pedestrian Improvement: $141,000
- Road Rehabilitation: $338,000
- Johnson Bentley memorial Aquatic Centre: $284,000
- Pritchard Park: $342,736
- Smith Creek/South Boucherie traffic calming: $130,000
- Westlake Road: $5.1 million (with funding from the federal and provincial governments)
West Kelowna council has also given instruction for these future projects:
- Gellatly Road upgrades
- Sanitary sewer replacement
- Casa Loma, Pritchard and Glenrosa traffic studies