Rossland city council says it doesn’t make sense to restore and make the old city hall building operational again for city staff, according to a recent city newsletter.
The roof of the building partially collapsed in March 2018, forcing city staff to temporarily work out of a building at 2198 Leroi Avenue.
Council said some of the problems at the old building included staff having to work in an public reception area and doubling up in offices due to limited space, limited room for public attendance at council meetings and inadequate space to store files and documents.
The working conditions meant lower work productivity and difficulty hiring and keeping good staff, according to council.
While council acknowledges in its latest newsletter that 2,000 square feet could be added to the old city hall with upgrades and a second floor, they said the renovation would cost around $2 million and wouldn’t address future staffing needs.
If the old city hall was upgraded and expanded, it would be still be 1200 square feet smaller than the proposed city hall at 1920 3rd Avenue.
Council said other downsides to renovating the old city hall includes loss of tax revenue, higher annual operating costs and no opportunity for up to three new businesses to set up shop at the location.
Despite the downsides, council stated there would be less upfront construction costs to upgrading the old city hall than proceeding with the new city hall development .
Council said the new development, which also consists of 37 affordable housing units, might still not go ahead if cost estimates come in significantly over budget.
Of the $11.7 million total project cost, $5.7 million is being provided by grants by the Columbia Basin Trust and BC Housing.
At a recent meeting, council passed a motion and unanimously denied having a referendum on the project.
Despite the decision, the Rossland Taxpayers Association has since filed a petition to the B.C. Minister of Housing Selina Robinson, asking for a referendum to still be held on the proposed development.