Since the Regional District of Central Kootenay rejected the idea of moving into Nelson’s White Building in a 19-1 vote, the Star has been canvassing individual directors for their reasons. These are the remaining ones we haven’t heard from until now.
WALTER POPOFF, Slocan Valley
We are in the process of exploring a solution that would maximize office space in the current building to improve working conditions and space allocation. I believe to move to another location before we have exhausted all possibilities at our current location would not be in our best interest.
RON MICKEL, Rural Nelson
(Declined comment because he wasn’t at the meeting where the vote was held, although he explained he did not instruct his alternate how to vote.)
GARRY JACKMAN, East Shore
The white building — to move or not to move.
There seems to have been an element of drama around the question of the RDCK Nelson office relocating, with emphasis being placed on dollars, square feet of space and combining government services. Missing from the now public discussion was public input. The public were not asked.
The process started over the issues around useable square feet of floor space. The immediate to medium term solution to that issue was identified months ago through purchasing modern furniture which suits modern work practices. For a few decades I have lived in the construction/consulting realm where our offices had large drafting tables and desks. This has changed, with more compact and more effective electronic devices for work and storage. If more space is desired, then the efficiency of the space itself needs to be considered. Two issues here, one being that longer, narrower buildings tend to require a higher percentage of the gross floor area to be used for circulation and exiting. The other issue is buildings on multi levels consume a relatively high percentage of the total area on every level to accommodate vertical movement with both elevators and stairwells. The net effect is the useable space for workstations in a building with a larger gross footprint could actually be a lower percentage than in another building. Further points could be debated over both staff efficiency and building efficiency (long term maintenance, etc.) but that would be for a next step investigation.
Money is an important consideration. None of the costs have been proven out to what I would consider to be adequate for long term decisions, but we know inherently that moving is highly disruptive and expensive in itself. If the short to medium term solution is in hand, without a major move, while also providing a direct benefit of improvements to antiquated furnishings then it makes sense to take this step and then do the homework on the long term options for when or if required. Any move would still require the new furnishings costs according to senior staff and outside consultant analysis.
Co-location of services in a single office is an interesting concept and may have merit in some situations, but again the homework needs to be done. This includes actually asking the people who pay for the services as well as those who deliver the services. I expect the public often have questions around our recreation but does this mean we should move the recreation manager from Nelson (or Castlegar and Creston) to the white building for public convenience? Of course not, people go to directly to the rec plex sites as that is where the action is. Similarly people take the bag of garbage or recycle material to the transfer station attendant to ask their questions. Many people do go to the RDCK office, but since they never received mail, invoices or flyers from the City of Nelson they understand they are not dealing directly with the City for their services, so they seek the appropriate building to visit with their questions or issues.
The City of Nelson provided useful information in their proposal, for for the RDCK and for the City itself if it needs to market that empty space to offset future costs. Thanks to all for their input.
Declined comment: Ann Bunka, New Denver; Hillary Elliott, Slocan; Lawrence Chernoff, Castlegar
No response: Gord Zaitsoff, Rural Castlegar