White Rock councillor eyes new chambers

Purchased by the city in 2010, this former church site will be home at times to various city departments. - File photo
Purchased by the city in 2010, this former church site will be home at times to various city departments.
— image credit: File photo

White Rock politicians could soon be making decisions for the city from new quarters, if one councillor has her way.

Coun. Helen Fathers announced last week she is seeking support from her fellow council members to have staff explore what it would cost to upgrade the city-owned building at 1174 Fir St. to accommodate council chambers and use by community groups.

“I think we all know that the council chambers need updating,” Fathers told Peace Arch News.

The former home of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, the site was purchased by the city in 2010 for $1.6 million. The move completed the municipality’s ownership of the entire block occupied by its civic, police, fire and library services.

Leased back to the church for just over a year, the city took full possession of the building in February 2012.

Since then, the 3,500 square feet have been used largely for storage.

Fathers said its upper floor would be ideal for council chambers and multi-functional use; space underneath could be rented out.

The existing council chambers would be ideal space for the city’s currently cramped development services department, she said. And, moving those offices would open up an opportunity to shift other lower-floor departments into better space as well.

Council is expected to discuss Fathers’ motion during its next meeting, set for April 29. She is optimistic it will be supported.

“It’s such a great building and it’s not being used to the best that it can be,” she said. “We are definitely ready to move forward.”

City manager Dan Bottrill said Wednesday that regardless of council’s decision April 29, the former church building will temporarily house all of the city’s departments at various times during upcoming renovations of city hall’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system. The majority of that work is expected to start in late summer.


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