Strathcona Regional District board vice chair Brad Unger, chair Michele Babchuk and Area C representative Jim Abram cut the ribbon on the new board room at the organization’s newly-renovated facility. The SRD showed off the renovations at an open house Aug. 13. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

SRD shows off its new boardroom in downtown Campbell River

Organization hopes more people will come to public meetings in the new, more accessible space

The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) took an opportunity on Aug. 13 to show off its newly-renovated facility downtown on Cedar Street – specifically, it’s new boardroom.

The new boardroom is larger than the old one and has been moved from the third floor to the main floor, which the organization hopes will allow more people to attend the meetings held there, as it provides greater accessibility and additional seating in the public gallery. Technological upgrades will soon also be installed enhancing audio-visual presentations and enabling the meetings to be webcasted.

“I am delighted to officially open this space to our board and community members” SRD board chair Michele Babchuk says. “Providing better access to board meetings for community members near and far is important to the board’s open governance principles.”

In addition to the new boardroom, building renovations also include a new welcoming reception space and informal meeting area at the main ground-level entrance. This provides a clear and accessible single point of entrance and contact for Regional District business and public enquiries.

Back in 2017, the SRD purchased the property as a cost-effective way to provide more accessible space to meet its growing needs and better serve the public. Based on interest rates, operating expenditures and leasehold revenues from other building tenants, the annual costs of ownership are essentially the same as what was previously being paid in rent, the organization says, and the building’s purchase allowed for the renovation of the facility to take place.

“It’s great that we were able to purchase the building and renovate it without any additional requisition from the public,” Babchuk says. “Not only were we able to improve our surroundings, but we were able to add value to our whole regional district and the city of Campbell River, because the staff here had the vision to make this happen.”

The staff, however, also had to put up with the work as it was done, for which Babchuk says she is very thankful.

“I know you’ve been out in the little trailer in the parking lot, some of you, or using spaces that weren’t optimal,” Babchuk told those gathered for the opening, many of whom were staff of the organization. “And it has been very much noted by the rest of us and I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping us make this happen.

The public is encouraged to attend board meetings in the new space, the schedules for which can be found online at srd.ca