Alternate options sought for town hall project

Central Saanich says it will consider ideas before decision

Central Saanich is promising another public open house on their new town hall project — and could also consider a public-private partnership in their plans.

The District of Central Saanich’s Community, Protective Services and Facilities Committee received a report from the Town Hall Project team at their Nov. 26 meeting. It included a summary of the community input received following the community open house held Oct. 13 which saw close to 100 people attend and participate in tours of the existing facility.

Residents were also able to look over project research materials and participate in presentations.

Project consultants Jennifer Kay of LANDECA Services Inc. and Franc D’Ambrosio of D’AMBROSIO architecture + urbanism were in attendance at the committee meeting on Nov. 26 to provide councillors with an overview of the public comments on the project.

According to a press release from the municipality, the key issues residents identified include further investigation of alternate options, concern regarding potential for increased property taxes, support for simplified construction to keep costs down and preference for referendum over alternative approval process for potential loan authorization bylaw.

Participants also indicated they hope for increased communication on the project from the municipality.

“We are pleased that members of the community were able to attend the open house in October. Engaging the community and obtaining their feedback is a critical component of this project,” said Mayor Alastair Bryson in the release.

Following discussion by council members, the project team was given direction to further explore and assess a range of options available to the municipality to meet the facility needs of the police and administration functions.

Those include maintaining the existing building, renovating the existing building, constructing a new town hall building and exploring alternative options such as revised site planning and considering private and public sector partnership opportunities.

Bryson suggested during the meeting there may be opportunities to avoid the costs of temporary relocation and disruption of services by building the new facility in another location on the current site, allowing the continued use of the existing building during the construction phase.

“Our next open house will be early in the new year where the project team will present additional information as requested at our committee meeting,” said Bryson.

With council’s direction, the project team will complete additional work over the coming months and will report back to the community in early 2013.

For more information on the project, visit the Central Saanich website at and click on the Town Hall Project link.