The Strathcona Regional District is seeking approval from voters to borrow more than $2 million to purchase its own building.
It’s the next step in the regional district’s attempt to buy the downtown building it’s been operating out of for the last nine years.
At its Wednesday meeting, the regional district’s board of directors voted to proceed with an alternative approval process which gives voters until April 24 to register their opposition if they so wish.
If less than 10 per cent of the regional district’s 34,177 eligible voters are opposed, then the board has permission to proceed with the process of borrowing $2.04 million. Under the alternative approval process, voters in support are not required to take any action.
The regional district has been looking at options for long-term stability with respect to its corporate needs since early 2016. The corporation has been leasing portions of the building at 990 Cedar Street (across from the Community Centre) since 2008 but the way the building is currently designed does not provide for sufficient office space.
Dave Leitch, the regional district’s CAO, said both regional district staff and directors agree that purchasing the building will allow the corporation to make better use of the space.
“Our corporate office is split between two floors; we have senior staff sharing offices, others sitting in hallways or hot-desking and a boardroom that does not allow for public participation,” Leitch has previously said. “Our limited space creates challenges for staff, which impacts our ability to best serve the public. We have considered numerous possibilities and this solution is the most cost-effective, least disruptive and practical solution that will meet our corporate needs.”
Tom Yates, the regional district’s corporate services manager said purchasing the Cedar Street building, in which space is also leased by MNP, gives the regional district the best overall value in terms of economy and efficiency.
“Based on current projections of interest rates, operating expenditures and leasehold revenues, the acquisition of the corporate office asset is anticipated to be essentially cost neutral when compared to historical leasehold expenditures,” Yates said. “The asset being acquired also provides the board with the opportunity to build equity in real property which will likely continue to increase in value over time.”
But first, the regional district needs to secure the support of electors in order to finance the property acquisition through borrowing to cover the cost of the purchase, renovations, legal fees and other associated costs.
The results of the alternative approval process will be returned to the board at its April 27 meeting.
Information on the process, as well as alternative approval opposition forms, will be posted on the regional district’s website at, strathconard.ca. Paper forms will be distributed in various places throughout the region, including at the regional district’s corporate offices.