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The Council is preparing to select a site for the next Municipal Building. Unfortunately, the result of this very important decision is likely to be compromised by an unfortunate urgency.
I am not referring to the excellent work done by the Municipal Building Site Selection Steering Committee. They analyzed and deliberated in a methodical manner that is to be commended.
Rather, it is the premises that they worked under that were hastily derived. Even if we accept that the County now needs a Municipal Building that is twice as large as the previous one, it is not clear that all of the functions in the proposed building need to be under one roof.
In this age of electronic communication it may well be possible to divide the Municipal Building functions into two structures with very limited loss of efficiency. If that is so, then establishing some functions in White Rock should be strongly considered. Doing so would send a clear message that White Rock is not just a satellite in the orbit of the townsite but an essential and integrated part of the County.
And what better way is there to stimulate economic development in an area than to actually deploy some workers to that area?
Finally, a smaller building in the townsite could be located in a variety of places besides the two recommended by the site selection committee, perhaps even the original location at Ashley Pond. Smaller structures could be more easily expanded, should it be needed, than a single large one.
These sorts of benefits carry a value that cannot be measured in dollars alone. But, have they been seriously considered? If so, I missed it. These options were outside the scope of the site selection committee.
Council should accept the report of the Municipal Building Site Selection Steering Committee with gratitude for a job well done but recognize that there are alternatives with significant benefits that have not been properly considered. They should investigate these options before prematurely making this once in a lifetime decision.
Robert A. Pelak