The City of West Kelowna, B.C., has embarked on using the alternative approval process to replace an aging fire hall with a new one.
City hall says $8 million is needed to replace Firehall 32, and that it needs long-term borrowing to do so. The new location would be at 860 Anders Rd., a park site just around the corner from the fire hall’s current location.
The alternative approval process makes it all but automatic for bureaucrats to achieve their end goal unless 10 per cent of the public registers opposition to the loan by registering at city hall.
City council gave the OK on Wednesday to use the alternative approval process. However, in doing so, it noted that the fire hall replacement project includes integrating the Lakeview Heights Community Centre, park area space and amenities.
Global News has reached out to the city, asking if the $8 million will go directly to the new fire hall or if some of those funds will go towards the ancillary projects.
“Council has directed staff to ensure that no new tax increases to the community will result from the project, including for long-term borrowing,” the city stated in its press release earlier Wednesday.
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According to the city, Fire Hall 32 is now 53 years old “and well beyond its useful life as a protective services facility.”
The city also claims it no longer complies with current operational and safety standards.
“Our firefighters, who protect our community around the clock, need an operational facility that meets regulatory standards for fire and life safety,” said the city’s mayor, Gord Milsom.
“Fire Hall 32 is well past its lifespan, the building is well undersized and leaks, firefighters are stationed in portables, and some vehicles and equipment are housed in pop-up tents outside the fire hall.
“Council has assured the public that no new tax increases will result, and if the public is not opposed to long-term borrowing there is nothing they need to do.”
The motion will pass if less than 2,810 residents object to the loan by registering at city hall.
The alternative approval process will run from Feb. 15 to March 15.
More information about the project is available online.
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