Building debates light up city council

Tyler Clarke
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Mayor Greg Dionne argues against the city taking ownership of the federal building at 1288 Central Ave. at Monday’s executive committee meeting, noting that he’s been having a hard enough time convincing city council to divest itself of properties they already own. 

Between the possibility of adding a building to their inventory and spending money on roof repairs, civic-owned buildings remain a contentious issue at city hall.


The federal government’s building at 1288 Central Ave. has been deemed a “surplus property” and is slated to go on the market, with the provincial and municipal governments granted first crack at it.

The province has said no, and city administration has also recommended against its purchase, though Coun. Rick Orr suggested at Monday’s executive committee meeting that the city look a little closer.

“If this is a serviceable building that is in good shape it’s something that the city needs to take a look at,” he said. 

“In the short term, maybe we don’t need it, but it could be a rental space, or the downstairs area retail space could be used.”

The building might fit a nice niche in downtown redevelopment, he suggested.

“To think that we have no interest in it, I think it needs to go back to planning and development to look the options.”

Shooting down this suggestion, Mayor Greg Dionne reminded council of his goal to lessen the tax burden when it comes to municipal building ownership.

“I’m having a hard enough time getting council to sell surplus buildings, let alone look at buying another building,” he said.

The Margo Fournier Centre, the Girl Guide Hall and the Judo Building are currently under city council’s microscope in their consideration of which buildings to divest themselves of.

The Kinsmen Water Park’s waterslides did not open this year due to their dilapidated state -- something that did not happen overnight, implying a lack of municipal interest in funding the structure.

City council is waiting on a $200,000 external investment in the waterslides before they pay the $60,000 balance to fix the structure.

I’m having a hard enough time getting council to sell surplus buildings, let alone look at buying another building. Greg Dionne

Monday’s meeting revealed more structures the city is reluctant to fund.

Within this year’s recommended roofing projects is a suggested $205,000 investment in the old city yards.

“We should be looking at closing the old city yards” Dionne said, questioning whether the re-roofing expense is greater than the entire structure’s worth.

The building debate will continue at the July 14 city council meeting, set to take place at city hall beginning at 4 p.m.

Monday’s executive committee meeting set the stage for the July 14 meeting, with council tentatively voting against looking into the purchase of 1288 Central Ave., as well as against repairing the old city yards roof.


Alfred Jenkins Field House roof troubles

An unusual roofing investment in this year’s list of suggested repairs is that of the Alfred Jenkins Field House.

Only four years old, the city’s elected officials were taken aback by the expense, calling to question those responsible for the structure.

“It’s a design issue,” public works project co-ordinator Don Cheeseman told council.

“The curbing between the flat roof and the peaked roof has failed,” he said. “Typically you have a flashing there -- there isn’t. There’s just a membrane, that after four years of snow and ice has failed.”

Ice damming on the south side of the structure has been backing up and getting under the metal roof, lifting screws and creating leakage under the roof.

Organizations: Margo Fournier Centre, Alfred Jenkins Field House

Geographic location: Kinsmen Water Park

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