So the Regional District of the Central Kootenay has outgrown its current facility, located in Nelson, and is looking at its options.
Couple that with the fact that the City of Nelson has a huge, empty space at City Hall that it’s trying to find a renter for.
Then add in the fact that there could be significant cost savings for the RDCK, and therefore to the taxpayers, if it moves in, rather than modifying its present location or purchasing a new one.
Finally, consider that Nelson will generate revenue from renting the space, which is also a taxpayer benefit.
In a normal world you would add these pieces together to reach a logical conclusion. But this is politics and you don’t get much farther from logical than that.
Last month the City of Nelson made a presentation to the RDCK to pitch the idea of moving to 310 Ward Street, lovingly referred to as the White Building. A pitch that for the most part fell on deaf ears. The question is why.
Are there logistics to be worked out? Of course, but what could be so daunting that politicians would refuse to save taxpayers money?
Parking could be problematic, with only 80 spaces available. But is that enough to ignore the potential $200,000 savings per year just in IT costs? Not to mention the money available by leasing or selling the old location and other cost-saving benefits.
And it’s not just Nelson taxpayers who stand to gain. All the communities in the RDCK pay to fund the group, so when it spends extra cash, it’s taxpayers that foot that bill.
A long-term partnership appears to make logical, financial sense. Creating a political hub — provincial government services are also located in the White Building — makes sense. Locating in an area with access to transit and is within walking distance to several other services makes sense. Costing the taxpayers more money makes nonsense.
Later this month, Nelson will again make its presentation to the RDCK. We can only hope that financially sound heads prevail.
Because if they pass up this opportunity now, it’s the taxpayers who will pay in the end.