It took more than 40 minutes for Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen directors to decide to rent additional space to accommodate needed storage, staff, and emergency operation space.
Michael Brydon, director for Area F (West Bench) guessed the expenditure might cost 50 cents per year per household.
“I wish we had as much of a debate around the $20 million landfill gas capture as we did this $50,000 lease agreement,” he said, which brought laughter from his fellow directors.
The 2,600 square-foot space in question is located at 105 Martin Street, across the alley from the RDOS administration building.
Bill Newell, CAO for the RDOS, started the discussion by explaining the space was currently being leased by the regional district on a short-term basis to use as the Emergency Operation Centre during this year’s flooding season. The space is being paid for until the end of July by Emergency Management B.C.
By entering into a long term lease, RDOS would not be eligible to receive any money for renting the space if it was needed for an emergency operation centre in subsequent flooding or fire seasons.
The cost for the space is $2,635 a month minus $1,050 currently paid out for storage so the increase would be $1,585 a month plus utilities, which would be paid by all elected ares.
Newell noted RDOS was in need of more space and the leased area could be used for storage, meeting rooms and space for staff when not in use as an emergency operation centre. The board already rents a space across the alley for storage, which would no longer be needed.
During the lengthy discussion several ideas surfaced on how to increase space including holding the twice monthly board meetings at Penticton City Hall or even going on the road and holding meetings in all the municipalities. It was also mentioned Penticton City Hall could possibly act as the EOC.
Andrew Jakubeit, mayor of Penticton, and Helena Konans, councillor for Penticton, were both vocal about their wishes that RDOS staff talk to the city of Penticton about using the city’s boardroom.
A motion to defer a decision about the lease failed.
The majority of directors voted in favour of entering into a five-year lease to rent 105 Martin Street.