West Kelowna council awaits consultant's design for works yard

A few months from now,  West Kelowna council will see a consultant's take on the kind of infrastructure it thinks should be included in a new city works yard.

At its last meeting, council voted to put up $65,000 to finance that report, which will look at the proposed site on Bartley Road, which could see an office building added at a cost of close to $5 million.

Councillor Rosalind Neis says before that meeting, she'd reached out to fellow councillors with an idea.

"I had given a head's up to council a week before our council meeting, with no response from anyone at the table," she said.

"I'd thought potentially another good use of that space is council chambers, where we could conduct our bi-monthly meeting and free up a lot of space in the current location, and give staff more room there."

Neis says it's not the plans to build on the site that she took issue with, it was the means of getting to that end.

"They (administration) came back saying we own this land, we could put something on it, and make it work, which I think is actually a good idea," she said.

"But there's more than one way to do that, and I don't think spending $65,000 on a consultant to tell us what our needs are is a wise use of taxpayer money. I think it's quite clear what our needs are."

She says CAO Jim Zaffino has told council that given the vote against a new city hall, the city is in desperate need of space for its employees to work out of.

Neis also says that at the council meeting, she didn't get a clear picture why current staff can't handle that task themselves.

"I don't understand why our staff can't come forward, I mean I know we're busy, and we're growing, and we've got a lot of stuff going on. But for $65,000 dollars, we could hire one full-time staff memeber for a year," she said.

"It can't really be that hard. Maybe it is, but as a layperson I don't think it's terribly difficult to come up with the layout on the property, as far as what facilities you need."

She says there's no official timeline, but that once the consultant is hired, they'll be a few months away from presenting options to council.