Strathcona Regional District to borrow nearly $2 million to buy its own building

SRD is moving forward with borrowing millions to buy downtown building

The Strathcona Regional District will go ahead with taking on more than $2 million in debt in order to purchase its own office building.

The regional district’s board of elected directors made the decision at its Thursday meeting to borrow up to $2.042 million to buy the downtown Cedar Street building that the corporation has been operating out of for the last nine years.

A successful alternative approval process for the regional district paved the way for the board to proceed with the borrowing.

“The regional district has just concluded an alternative approval process, authorized by the board in, I believe, January,” Tom Yates, the regional district’s corporate services manager, told directors at last week’s board meeting. “Clearly the bylaw has received the approval of the electorate and the board may now proceed with adoption of the bylaw.”

The alternative approval process was open between March 15 and April 24 and during that 41 day period, 10 opposition forms were received from members of the public – less than 10 per cent of the 34,177 registered voters in the Strathcona Regional District. Approval of the electorate is obtained when less than 10 per cent of the estimated number of eligible electors submit elector response forms by the deadline.

The regional district announced earlier this year that it had plans to pursue purchasing the building at 990 Cedar Street (across from the Campbell River Community Centre) which it has been portionally leasing since 2008. The building’s design, however, does not provide for sufficient office space and staff are divided between two floors. Some senior staff have been sharing offices while others are hot desking.

Owning the building, though, allows the regional district to make better use of the space.

In March, Yates said that purchasing the downtown building, which is also leased by MNP, makes the most sense in terms of economy and efficiency.

“Based on current projections of interest rates, operating expenditures and leasehold revenues, the acquisition of the corporate office asset is anticipated to be essentially cost neutral when compared to historical leasehold expenditures,” Yates said. “The asset being acquired also provides the board with the opportunity to build equity in real property which will likely continue to increase in value over time.”

Borrowing the roughly $2 million approved by the board will cover the cost of the building purchase, renovations, legal fees and other associated costs.