Renting office space for an Emergency Operation Centre became a catalyst for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to start investigating the feasibility of a new joint building with the City of Penticton.
Picking up from the last meeting, the 18-member board talked in-depth about the possibility of RDOS having their twice monthly meetings in the city’s boardroom two blocks over.
The idea came about earlier in June, as regional directors discussed renting office space adjacent to the administration building on 101 Martin St. to accommodate emergency operations during flooding and fire seasons and to allow for storage and possible meeting or staff space. After much discussion, the board agreed to rent the space. Since that meeting, the price of the rental space has been costed out and will be 28 cents per year for the average taxpayer.
At request of Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit, RDOS staff investigated the feasibility of moving RDOS meetings to Penticton city council boardroom. An informational report showed the only positive was web casting capability at the city, but the cons list included 13 points from parking, to elected officials having limited access to RDOS staff and the expansion of the sound system.
Jakubeit said his request to investigate the option was made in the hopes of finding “efficiencies,” and that he wanted to know if shared use would be feasible opposed to renting another space.
Michael Brydon, director for Area F (West Bench) said he did not think efficiencies could be found in a shared boardroom, but that perhaps in the future a new joint administration building for the city and the regional district would make sense.
“This is a much longer initiative. If we are looking at joining and using space it will have to be built from the bottom up,” he said.
Andre Martin, councillor for the city of Penticton made a motion that the board look at the feasibility of a joint-use building,
Bill Newell, CAO, said staff would bring the idea forward after the fall municipal election during the new board’s planning process. At that point the new board would determine a budget to look into building a new project. If it was to go forward, it would be years and require a capital budget and grants to come to fruition.
“We’ve had this discussion at least three or four times over the years. How can we better reach partnerships being so close, is their opportunities for economies of scale? If if was more efficient to have room for both bodies we would go that way,” said Newell.