Courtenay City Hall renovation on schedule and on budget

Renovations to Courtenay City Hall are expected to be complete by the end of this month.

Renovations to Courtenay City Hall are expected to be complete by the end of this month.The project began in July and has involved extensive repairs to the building envelope and included new wood, stone, aluminum siding and window upgrades, as well as a large new window over the council chambers and part of the second floor.The project also included a complete revitalization of the exterior entrance, including new landscaping, benches and seating areas and pavers.Some minor interior work was added to the scope of the work to allow for efficiencies while contractors were on site, according to a report from community services director Randy Wiwchar, which council received Monday.”The project’s goal was to improve the appearance of the building, address building envelope issues including leaking, and extend the life of the building for another 10-15 years,” he wrote. “The project is also part of Courtenay’s Climate Action Strategy, retrofitting City facilities to reduce greenhouse gas and reduce energy costs. The building was originally constructed in 1948 and since then has seen many adaptations and cosmetic and functional changes. This renovation gives the City Hall a new fresh, modern look, which is consistent with the City’s vision and with other City facilities in the downtown core and cultural district.”The renovation is projected to be finished by the end of October, although some interior work and final landscaping will be done after this date, according to Wiwchar.”The project has gone fairly smoothly and has created only minor inconveniences to the public and staff,” he wrote. “The staff can be thanked for their patience with noise, dust, office relocation, water damage and parking issues.”The total project costs are $595,000.”The project is on schedule and within the overall budget allocation,” he wrote. “Considering the amount of repairs required that were not known when the construction bid was submitted, the contractor has managed to keep the budget refined and within the City’s overall projections. “Muchalat Projects Ltd. and Martin Hagarty, architect, have been very accommodating and have done a good job in the overall construction and management of the project and in addressing a number of anticipated but unknown challenges and hidden issues.”Additional costs to the project have included restorative work to both the north and south towers and the south wall due to excessive rot/moisture issues, according to Wiwchar.Councillors were all supportive of the project.Coun. Larry Jangula has been fielding a lot of questions about the renovation, and he tells people he thinks it’s money well-spent.”The answer I generally give people is this is like five per cent of the cost of building a new building, and this is about a year and a half’s rent the regional district pays for their building,” he said.Coun. Manno Theos believes the work adds more appeal to the building.”I think the overall plan gives the building a longer period lifespan, and I believe the longer we put off some of those repairs, the more expensive they would have got, so I think this was the right thing to do at the right time,” he said.Coun. Jon Ambler emphasized that the renovation helps the city reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower energy costs and take action to address mould issues.”This was a no-brainer,” he said. “It needed doing, it looks great, and it solves some fundamental problems that have been bugging us for quite a while.”Coun. Murray Presley joked that he was just disappointed the City waited until he was leaving council to do the renovation.”I think there was no choice — we had to spend the money on it or tear it down and build a new one, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper to rebuild this existing building and extend the life 10 to 15 years,” he said.writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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