Vernon looks at options to mitigate risks in aging civic buildings
By Charlotte Helston
Vernon City Hall
(CHARLOTTE HELSTON / iNFOnews.ca)
August 15, 2016 - 2:30 PM
VERNON - City hall, the police station and the parkade are among 15 facilities on Vernon council’s to do list.
Some of the aging facilities will eventually need to be replaced, but for now the city is turning its eye to simply maintaining them.
The focus is on 15 of the city’s key facilities — including fire halls, the visitor centre, community policing office, and public works buildings — that were recently reviewed and assessed by Kerr Wood Leidel Consulting Engineers Ltd. The review found that more than ten of the facilities have risk ratings that are not considered acceptable and are becoming priorities for renewal.
The consultant estimates replacing the 15 facilities would cost roughly $24.5 million. City staff say that number is likely much higher.
The city has some different options for upgrading and replacing the facilities, but staff are making recommendations to council which involve extending the life of buildings and avoiding replacement. The plan would defer renewal work on facilities that present low risks and focus on mitigating higher risks in others.
“This plan really tells the city how much it’s going to cost to take care of what we have right now,” infrastructure engineer Mark Downhaniuk said.
The recommended 20-year plan would commit $376,000 for facility renewal in 2016, $400,000 in 2017, and $600,000 in 2018. A 1.9 per cent tax dedicated to infrastructure renewal will help pay for the work.
Vernon council received the plan for information and will be asked to formally endorse it at a Sept. 12 meeting, however Coun. Juliette Cunningham showed some early support for the strategy today, Aug. 15.
“I think this is just a really responsible way to manage what we have,” Cunningham said.
Staff are also recommending the city undertake the creation of a Civic Facilities Master Plan, which would forecast the timing of major facility replacement, upgrades and construction of new facilities.
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