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New Civic Centre added to budget talks in Georgina
Nov. 8, 2016
By Heidi Riedner

A new $45-million Civic Centre has been added to upcoming budget talks after consultants tabled their recommendations regarding the town’s administrative and political seat of government last week at council.

Just how that fits into the town’s long-term financial plan and garnering public input regarding the potential move are two key factors to be further explored, according to council members, who were presented with five options that ranged from renovating the current site to constructing a new building.

Demolishing the current Civic Centre and constructing a new one in conjunction with the Multi-Use Recreational Complex (MURC) slated for the south end of Keswick was the preferred option from Pivotal Projects Inc. after a three-month feasibility and site suitability study summarized in an 80-page report.

Consultants estimated construction of a new building twinned with the MURC (initially pegged at $30 million as a stand-alone project) would cost between $20 million and $25 million to build with a total cost of $45 million factoring in operational and borrowing costs over a 30-year window.

In addition, between $1 million and $1.4 million will have to be spent on the current building to address immediate issues over the next three to five years, which is the time needed to implement a long-term solution.

“The analysis has shown that although the existing building can be upgraded, modernized and improved, the inherent inefficiencies in floorplate shape and structure will yield a sub-optimal solution for a modern, contemporary and flexible office environment,” according to the report, which further states the preferred option out of the five - all ranging between $44 million and $52 million over a 30-year window - is the best value for the money.

More specifically, and notwithstanding the current building’s historical and iconic significance, the current building is “deficient” in a number of ways, according to the report.

While currently “grandfathered” from a code compliance perspective, the building does not meet current building code in areas of health, safety and compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians and Disabilities Act.

It is also at capacity in terms of staff, inefficient in terms of utilization of space and presents operational risks, most notably in regard to its 58-year-old elevator.

While her hope would be to stay at the current site and the thought of demolishing the current building made Ward 1 councillor Naomi Davison “ill”, she conceded council needs to “think of the future.

“We may be up against a wall here and we may have no choice,” she said, especially considering the town may have a new and more efficient building for relatively the same cost at the end of the day as making the current site fit the town’s needs .

Mayor Margaret Quirk agreed.

“We have some tough decisions to make,” she said, adding extensive public consultation would be sought so residents would fully understand the complexity of the issue and not think “it’s just because we think we have to have a new pretty building.

“We have some real deficiencies here,” Quirk said, adding the report’s recommendations will be incorporated into the town’s long-term financial plan and upcoming budget discussions so council can make the best decision “where to go from here."

For the full report, visit