The Penticton Library and Museum and Archives. (Google maps photo)

The Penticton Library and Museum and Archives. (Google maps photo)

Penticton council to weigh recommendations to replace aging city buildings

The Library and Museum, Art Gallery, Memorial Arena and Mclaren are among targets for replacement

The City of Penticton announced on Friday (Sept. 17) recommendations to replace some of the city’s aging amenities.

The review, prepared by Colliers Project Leaders, is part of the city’s Asset and Amenity Management Project and identifies city buildings that are nearing the end of their service life.

These buildings include fire halls one and two, Penticton City Hall, Memorial and McLaren Arenas, the Penticton Library and Museum, Penticton Art Gallery, Leir House, Cleland Theatre and the indoor soccer complex.

Upgrades and/or replacements to these buildings could include modernizing the buildings or constructing brand new buildings to replace the services they offer.

Some key recommendations of the report were:

•Create a new Arts and Culture Centre downtown to house the library, museum, art gallery and other arts groups;

•Consolidate the city’s ice surfaces onto the South Okanagan Events Centre site with the construction of a new twin arena and then demolish the McLaren and Memorial Arenas;

•Develop a new Public Safety and Emergency Services Centre downtown to replace fire hall one and house the Penticton Fire Department, Bylaw Services, Community Policing and the city’s Emergency Operations Centre;

•Upgrade fire hall two at its current location;

•Retain City Hall as a downtown civic and employment hub, modernize as planned and upgrade as required.

The current library and museum would be leased or sold to fund the recommended centre with Leir House being leased at commercial rates.

Memorial and McLaren Arenas would be demolished with the Memorial site being used as a parking lot while McLaren would be leased or sold to fund the recommendations.

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“Many of Penticton’s aging public assets are reaching the end of their service life and rather than simply replace these brick-for-brick, this review considers the current challenges and opportunities with each asset and identifies options that create the greatest benefit from a financial, strategic and community perspective,” Penticton’s general manager of finance Jim Bauer said.

He added that the recommendations would cost $20 million less than repairing the pre-existing amenities.

The recommended scenario would cost around $100 million and would be dependant on the rezoning, selling and leasing of the affected city properties.

The city consulted with each of the affected groups in regards to the recommendations and potential action.

All of the responses were positive and supportive of the changes, with many saying that their needs have outlived the buildings.

For more information about the project, visit shapeyourcitypenticton.ca.

City council will hear the results of the review during the Sept. 21 meeting, and if the recommendations are accepted, the project is expected to take around 20 years.

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