Report makes four recommendations to replace or modernize civic assets over next 20 years

News Release

An eighteen-month review of the City’s aging assets and amenities has determined that replacing or modernizing several of the City’s key assets is more cost effective and of greater value to Penticton over the long-term. Prepared by Colliers Project Leaders, the review is a result of the Asset & Amenity Management Project which was initiated in 2020 to evaluate the City’s assets and amenities, identify those that are reaching the end of their service life, and develop a long-term plan to manage the assets that is fiscally responsible and continues to deliver quality services. Council will hear the results of the review at their meeting on Sept. 21, 2021.

“Many of Penticton’s aging public assets are reaching the end of their service life and rather than simply replace these brick-for-brick, this review considers the current challenges and opportunities with each asset and identifies options that create the greatest benefit from a financial, strategic and community perspective,” said the City’s General Manager of Finance and Administration, Jim Bauer. 

The review began by screening all of the City’s assets and amenities to identify those that are near end-of-life, are single use or underused facilities, need critical capital improvements, and require significant investment. This generated a shortlist of assets for further analysis including Fire Hall #1 and #2, City Hall, Memorial and McLaren Arenas, Library / Museum, the Penticton Art Gallery, Leir House, Cleland Theatre and the Indoor Soccer Complex. Based on an analysis of the costs, condition and functionality of these facilities, along with discussions with several user groups, the consultants identified the following four key recommendations to ensure the services supported by these facilities are continued or enhanced in the future: 

  1. Create a new Arts & Culture Centre in the downtown to house the library, museum, art gallery and other arts groups. Disposition of the library / museum and art gallery sites to fund the centre. Lease Leir House at commercial rates.
  2. Consolidate the City’s ice surfaces on the SOEC site with the construction of a new twin arena and the demolition of McLaren and Memorial Arenas. Conversion of Memorial site to parking and disposition of the McLaren site for commercial redevelopment to fund the new arenas.
  3. Develop a new Public Safety and Emergency Services Centre downtown to replace Fire Hall #1 and house the Penticton Fire Department, Bylaw Services, Community Policing and the City’s Emergency Operations Centre. Upgrade Fire Hall #2 at its current location.
  4. Retain City Hall as a downtown civic and employment hub, modernize as planned and upgrade as required.

The report also makes other recommendations including investing to maintain the Indoor Soccer Complex, with the City assuming operations, and upgrading Cleland Theatre, with a third-party to handle operations. 

“These recommendations provide direction for $300 million in facilities that are in critical need of a plan,” said Bauer. “If the City implements the recommendations as described, Penticton residents will enjoy new facilities with modern functionality that are cheaper to maintain, have a longer service life, improve accessibility and reduce our environmental footprint at a price tag that is $20 million less than simply repairing what we have today,” said Bauer. 

The estimated net cost of the recommended scenario is about $100 million and is dependent upon the rezoning and disposition of affected City properties to fund priorities. Full details of the analysis, options and rationale for each asset and resulting recommendation is provided in the Asset & Amenity Management Project report. 

With the review completed, staff are recommending the City conduct an engagement process to involve the community in finalizing the plan. 

“Many of these recommendations affect assets that are home to services enjoyed by residents and are highly valued by the community. Before the City finalizes the plans, we want to build on our initial discussions with some of the user groups and confirm the direction with residents,” said the City’s Public Engagement Program Manager, JoAnne Kleb. 

A ‘Civic Places and Spaces’ project page has been created on the City’s shapeyourcitypenticton.ca website to host all information related to this project. A copy of the report is now available on the website. Details about opportunities to get involved will be shared once the activities are confirmed and with Council’s direction to proceed.  

As part of the review and preparation of the recommendations, the City consulted with representatives from the user groups who currently operate or provide programs or services at the affected facilities. These representatives provided the following comments about the recommendations for their facilities.

“The Penticton Art Gallery is excited to work with the City of Penticton to explore the possibilities of a new purpose built cultural hub in the downtown core to serve the long-term objectives of our community’s arts, heritage and cultural organizations. Our primary objective is to ensure that the Penticton Art Gallery has the space, support and resources needed to meet our needs today and have the room we need to meet the growing demand for our education and outreach programs, further develop our permanent collection and continue to create and attract world class exhibitions.”
 
Paul Crawford
Director / Curator
Penticton Art Gallery
 
“The Penticton Public Library has long outgrown its current facility. It is a positive step to see recommendations that take into account our needs and look to future improved library services - from sufficient connectivity and room for technology to spaces for programing and patrons.  Co-locating the Library with other cultural services may also allow for a broader spectrum of programming and services.” 

Heather Buzzell
Chief Librarian
Penticton Public Library

“A new arts and culture centre in the downtown core is an excellent idea. As a cultural hub, it would create synergies where the whole would definitely be greater than the sum of its parts. Not only would the museum, library and art gallery benefit from close proximity, increased efficiencies could result from shared storage, reception and other functions. With a larger numbers of visitors and staff under one roof, ancillary services such as a gift shop or a cafeteria become genuine possibilities.”          

Dennis Oomen
Curator
Penticton Museum & Archives

“Okanagan Hockey Group is very supportive of the proposed replacement of McLaren Park and Penticton Memorial Arenas with a new twin ice facility, adjacent to the South Okanagan Events Centre. Having four NHL-sized ice surfaces would place Penticton in an elite international category of municipalities that has the ability to host major global events. There would also be many multi-use opportunities for other groups to take advantage of these state-of-the-art facilities during the spring and summer months.” 

Andy Oakes
President
Okanagan Hockey Group

“The Penticton fire stations have served the community well over the past 60 years, and are steeped in history.  However, Penticton is a growing community, and our current fire stations simply do not meet the demands of our community.  The recommendation to replace Fire Hall #1 with a central facility for public safety not only ensures we have the most modern facility for fire protection and operational requirements but provides opportunities for better integration amongst the City’s protective services and efficient use and sharing of resources.”
 
Larry Watkinson 
Fire Chief 
Penticton Fire Department
 

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Contacts:

Jim Bauer
General Manager, Finance and Administration
City of Penticton
250-490-2480

JoAnne Kleb
Public Engagement Program Manager
City of Penticton
250-490-2586