Tax Neutral Civic Centre – Regional Office Building Project

Project Redirects Lease Costs and Building Reserve Funds Towards Debt Payment 

 Frequently Asked Questions

 

 
The Civic Centre provides several benefits to the community including redirecting expensive lease payments of $330,000 per year to a debt repayment which provides a community asset. The location of this new facility will help revitalize the downtown core, provide space-sharing initiatives with the City of Courtenay, Village of Cumberland and School District 71 and have potential for renting meeting rooms for public use.

By relocating the regional office out of the floodplain, those essential services residents require daily (water, sewer and garbage) will be able to continue in times of need. Corporate records, fleet vehicles and information technology infrastructure will no longer be threatened during flooding and storm events. Finally, a specifically designed post-disaster emergency operations centre (EOC) will provide emergency response to the public during emergency/disaster events.

Learn more about how this project is tax neutral here.

Where are We Now – Design and Financing

A schematic design of the proposed building has been completed by KMBR Architects, based on the feedback received on the initial conceptual drawings.  A public open house was held on June 12th to gather feedback on the design and provide information on the financing strategy. A loan authorization bylaw was given three readings by the board on May 30th and has been submitted to the province for approval in order to proceed with conducting an Alternative Approval Process to gauge public approval for the proposed financing of the project.

From July 6th until August 18th the Alternative Approval Process ran for this project. At the close of the process, on Friday, August 18, 828 eligible elector response forms were received in the service area and the board may now consider the bylaw for adoption and next steps at their August 29th board meeting.

Project Background

In 2001, the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) had to vacate the administration offices located on Headquarters Road for safety reasons and were moved into leased premises on 17th Street in Courtenay. The Headquarters Road building was subsequently demolished. In 2002, the CVRD administration offices were moved into the current premises on Comox Road under a five year lease. The lease has been renewed several times since 2002. The leased premises are located in the floodplain and have been subject to several flooding threats and, at times, evacuation has been required and access by staff has been restricted by high flood waters. As a provider of local government services, it is not in the best interest of the taxpayer to have their service provider unavailable at such critical times.

The CVRD has been putting money in reserves since 2004 specifically for construction of a regional office building as it was deemed a board strategic priority.

In May 2016, the CVRD, in collaboration with the City of Courtenay and School District 71 (SD71), entered into a land purchase and exchange agreement for a site located on Harmston Avenue between 6th Street and Cumberland Road. The site is zoned for government offices and was owned by the City of Courtenay and SD71. The property purchase agreement was finalized in February 2017 and the CVRD now owns the property. 

The intent is to construct a regional office building on the property, to integrate shared building space, save taxpayers’ money in the long-term, redevelop under-utilized land and contribute to revitalizing the downtown area. As well as providing a new, permanent home for the CVRD, the building would also be the location of a post-disaster emergency operations centre and would offer opportunities to partner with other local governments and organizations in space-sharing initiatives. The CVRD office is intended to house key CVRD assets and be the centre of activity for elected officials, staff and the public.

Interested in learning more?