Thursday, March 4, 2021

$18.1-million Civic Centre renovation on the Council docket

Municipality of Chatham-Kent administration is once again asking Council to approve the renovation of the existing Civic Centre in Chatham at an initial investment of $18.1 million.

A staff report is on the agenda for the upcoming electronic Council meeting, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, October 19, 2020.

The staff report indicates the net investment for the project would be $13.1-million, after factoring in long term energy savings.

The funding would be provided from building lifecycle reserves “with no negative impact to the tax levy” and will provide for the relocation of Council Chambers to the first floor, as presented in the January 13, 2020 report to Council.

Back in January, Council turned down similar recommendations by an 11-7 vote.

Councillors Joe Faas, Melissa Harrigan, Brock McGregor, Marjorie Crew, Mary Clare Latimer, Karen Kirkwood-Whyte and Mayor Darrin Canniff voted in favour.

Councillors Jamie McGrail, Carmen McGregor, Aaron Hall, Michael Bondy, John Wright, Trevor Thompson, Mark Authier, Anthony Ceccacci, Amy Finn, Steve Pinsonneault and Doug Sulman voted against it.

After the initial recommendations were not approved, East Kent Councillor John Wright entered a successful motion for administration to bring back a report on the cost of replacing the HVAC system.

In the latest report, staff has presented a range of work for the 43-year-old building and the related costs. See the chart below:

Municipality of Chatham-Kent

“Considering all of the above mentioned details and costing options presented in previous reports, administration continues to recommend that Council approve the renovation of the existing Civic Centre at an investment of $18.1 ($13.1 net) million,” said Thomas Kelly, general manager of infrastructure and engineering services, in a staff report.

“This recommendation will move Council Chambers to first floor as presented in the January 13, 2020 report, and will address all issues related to life safety, security, age friendliness, accessibility, employee retention/attraction, poor energy efficiency, end of lifecycle core systems, designated substances abatement and general over all substandard accommodations.”

Kelly added: “Consistent with Council term priorities, there will be significant environmental and accessibility benefits associated with this investment.”

Kelly said in his report if Council chooses to maintain Council Chambers on the second floor, the estimated cost will be 17.3-million, $12.3-million net.

“Included in the $17.3-million estimate are upgrades to modernized current accessibility needs at a cost of $758,000,” Kelly said.

“However, this option will not address the safety concerns associated with the egress of a large gathering on the second floor in the event of an emergency and therefore is not recommended by administration.”

Kelly added experts in the field of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and architecture were consulted for the requested costing breakdown.

Kelly’s full report can be seen, here.

Monday’s meeting will be LIVE streamed, here.

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