City staff is hoping external improvements to Courtenay City Hall will start in early July.
Council heard an update on plans to give City Hall a facelift Monday during a committee of the whole meeting.
Council agreed to the concept in late January.
The project is expected to cost about $500,000.
The design work has been completed, explained Randy Wiwchar, the city’s director of community services.
The city held a site meeting last week, and eight to 10 contractors were interested in the project, he noted.
The city is looking at a tender close June 8, and staff will bring the best tender back to council for awarding of tender.
Wiwchar hoping construction will begin July 5.
“We want to stay away from tax season and the busy time around City Hall,” he said. “If everything goes right, construction would start in early July and probably run until mid-October.”
Very few external improvements have been made to City Hall since 1996, and there are still a number of areas, particularly around windows and doors, that remain in an unfinished state, staff noted when the project was first proposed.
In 2010, staff started looking into painting the exterior of the building, and it became apparent that the building envelope was in poor condition, and the investigation uncovered issues such as failing stucco and water likely seeping into the wall system, while the smell of mildew and mould was obvious inside.
Architect Martin Hagarty’s plans call for wrapping galvanized steel cladding around the stair towers at each end of the building, taking the window by the council chambers and enlarging it to make it a prominent feature, and for building a screen over the entrance. He proposes using cedar cladding, making the screen out of Douglas fir and wrapping the bottom of the building in fieldstone.
Coun. Larry Jangula has had several people complain to him about the city spending this money, estimated at about $500,000.
“I’ve told people I think this is the fiscally responsible thing to do,” he said. “We have an option of spending nothing and then trying to get rid of a building we know has mould problems or we spend some money and we make it a better building, or the other option would be to spend at least $10 million on a new city hall. That, to me, is not responsible when we don’t know how many city halls we’re going to need in the future. I really think this is smart money.”
Coun. Jon Ambler agreed it would be money well-spent.
“This is a decision between having your car’s transmission fixed or buying a brand-new car,” he said. “With taxpayers’ money, if you can, you repair the car and keep it running for a few more years. In fact, it’s a simple argument. People have talked to me about it, and I’ve said, ‘with your own home, would you fix the roof or would you buy a new house?’ Of course you’d fix the roof, and that’s all we’re doing. It’s important.”