Is moving into the White Building a good deal for Regional District of Central Kootenay taxpayers? A consultant will be asked to offer an opinion.

Is moving into the White Building a good deal for Regional District of Central Kootenay taxpayers? A consultant will be asked to offer an opinion.

Consultant to review Nelson’s White Building proposal

The regional district will hire a consultant to review the City of Nelson’s offer to share space in the White Building.

As expected, the Regional District of Central Kootenay will ask the City of Nelson to provide a formal proposal to share space in the White Building and hire a consultant to review it.

Chair John Kettle introduced the motion, passed unanimously Thursday, which requests the city submit its offer by year’s end and that an independent contractor then do a business case analysis.

“We’re obligated to look at governance models and what’s best for the taxpayer before we spend a lot of money [on renovations],” Kettle said.

At the same time, the board received a report stating that redesigning the existing office on Lakeside Drive would cost $400,000 to $600,000 depending on which option is chosen, to be paid out of a $700,000 reserve fund.

While the City of Nelson suggested that moving into the White Building, which also houses municipal and provincial offices, would save the regional district $50,000 to $200,000 per year in IT costs, it’s unclear what the actual cost of the move might be.

Kettle said they anticipated redesigning their existing office would be a two-year process, but are prepared to move more quickly on the city’s offer if it makes sense.

East Shore director Gary Jackman, however, sounded a note of caution: “I wonder if the citizens of Nelson are going to be asked if they want to offer the space at what may be perceived at below-market rate,” he said. “I don’t want to get too far down the road and have animosity develop over perceived subsidies.”

On the verge of outgrowing its present office, where it moved in 2000, the regional district struck a committee last year to look at options, including relocation or adding on to the building. However, their recommendation was to hire a space planner to find ways of reconfiguring the existing space.

The plan, presented by Graphic Office Interiors and Fairbank Architects, calls for higher density work space and different office furniture that would accommodate existing staff and up to six additional positions.