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UPDATE: Coldstream denies Okanagan College grant request

The grant would have cost an extra 2.08 per cent tax hike for citizens, above the 8.4 already on the table
Okanagan College’s new Student Housing project is expected to be completed in 2024. Its capital costs are approximately $15.75 million. (Okanagan College website)

Coldstream Council declined the request to provide a $150,000 grant to Okanagan College at Monday’s council meeting.

If approved, the grant could have cost Coldstream taxpayers an extra two per cent above an already steep hike.

The funds were requested as a means to offset building costs for the new Student Housing and Child Care building that is currently under development at OC.

The new facility is being funded by the province, however cost escalation over the past couple of years has increased the total construction cost for the facility. According to OC, the $150,000 grant would represent just 0.7 per cent of project costs.

OC is now forced to look elsewhere for funding of this amount.

Coldstream has considered two options for a funding source. The first, although not recommended, is re-allocating building permit fees. This avenue, as outlined in a council report, is not good business practice, as it could set a concerning precedence for other organizations to come forward looking for grants to cover these coasts.

The other means for funding would be through taxation, and a 2.08 per cent tax hike is recommended to cover the costs. Coldstream is already looking at an 8.4 per cent tax hike this year.

READ MORE: Coldstream council eyeing steep tax hike

The council report provided more insight on building permit fees, explaining that they are collected as part of the process of managing development, and there is no option to waive fees, according to the building bylaw.

The Lavington Child Care facility, Coldstream Community Hall and Child Care Facility and Coldstream Station are examples of projects where building permit fees were levied. In 2022, the District collected over $516,000 in building permit fees, and they help fund the operations of the Development Services Department to reduce the taxation requirement for the services provided.

To view the full agenda, click here.

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Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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