June 26, 2019 - News release: Municipality Revises 2019/2020 Capital Budget
After extensive study and public engagement that began in the spring of 2017, Council voted to build a new Municipal Services Building in the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg at their Tuesday, March 12, 2019 Council meeting.
The current building, located at 210 Aberdeen Road, does not meet National Building Code or Nova Scotia’s Accessibility Act. Space, air quality and security issues are some of the primary deficiencies with the existing building. A report produced by Catalyst Consulting determined that it would be more expensive to renovate and expand the existing building to meet accessibility and code requirements than it would be to invest in a new building.
The building will be located on municipally-owned land at Osprey Village, and will cost $8.7 million to construct (initially estimated at $7.2 million, revised to $7.6 million March 2019, revised to $8.7 million June 2019). The design of the building was developed to use as many locally-sourced materials and tradespeople as possible, and to achieve an energy use that is 30% less than National Building Code requirements. In addition to being fully accessible, the design of the building will enable the Municipality to offer improved service for the thousands of residents who utilize the building each year.
Municipal services have changed substantially in the 48 years since this building was constructed. The construction of a modest building will be the most effective use of the money we have set aside for this project. Previous and current Councils have set funds aside for this project for many years, which means the Municipality will not incur debt or raise taxes to build a new Municipal Services building. The Municipality continues to be on track to be debt-free by 2021.
The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg operates out of 210 Aberdeen Road in the Town of Bridgewater, a building that opened in 1970. Since that time, the scope of municipal services has changed substantially.
The condition of this 47-year-old building has been the topic of discussion for nearly a decade, beginning in 2009, when Council directed a firm to undertake a Space Needs Assessment and Options Report. Both the 2009 report and the most recent report from Catalyst Consulting identified building deficiencies in air quality, security and work space. In addition, the building does not meet soon-to-be-introduced provincial accessibility legislation.
Over the past few years, Council has delayed significant investments in the building, with the understanding that in the near future, a decision would need to be made about the building.
It’s time to decide the future of this building. Initially, three viable options were identified as potential solutions to the space and safety concerns.
1. Renovating and adding more space to the existing building.
2. Renovating and leasing space.
3. Building a new office on Nathan Cirillo Drive and selling the current building.
In May 2017, Council approved a motion to hire a Project Manager to determine an accurate and detailed cost analysis of all three options. After further review, the decision was made not to pursue Option 2, renovating and leasing space, as it would be more expensive than the other two options, and would not resolve the issue of having staff in different physical locations.
Though it’s clear that investing in a new building would be the most fiscally responsible choice, we recognize the importance of resident input into this project. The issue and engagement opportunities were promoted through two articles in Municipal Matters, news stories, newspaper advertisements, extensive radio advertisements, the front page of modl.ca, paid advertising on Facebook, in Councillor newsletters, on the modl.ca Calendar of Events, and in a direct email to residents who had signed up to the email list on the topic. The report was made available online, at all the Open Houses, at all six Your Government, Your Ideas meetings and at the Administration Building.
The Municipality held two open houses in mid-November in Council Chambers. At each of the meetings, attendees heard a short presentation from the Project Manager, then had the opportunity to ask questions of the Project Manager, Council members and the CAO. Additionally, the topic was brought up at all six Your Government, Your Ideas meetings, and discussion was encouraged.
The Project Manager's initial report is here: 2017 Administration Building Project Manager Report . His final report is included in the Council agenda for Tuesday, January 23, 2018. A summary report of the public feedback is available here: 210 Aberdeen Engagement Report
The Municipality held a Special Council meeting on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 to consider award of the Professional Design Services for the New Administration Building. At this meeting, Council awarded the RFP for the Professional Design Services for the new Administration Building. Eight companies submitted proposals, and the proposals were reviewed by senior staff and given scores for the technical elements and the cost. The successful bidder was IBI Group Architects (Canada) Inc.
Residents who want to stay informed on the issue can sign up to the email list.