New Civic Centre
New Civic Centre
The Town is considering building a new Civic Centre. In order that everyone understands this need, a history of the considerations is provided.
The town currently has exclusive use of approximately 1000 sq ft of office space on the lower level of the Lamont County administration building. In addition, the town has non exclusive use of two washrooms, a vault, a rotunda (storage area) and council chambers. This provides approximately another 1800 sq ft of non exclusive use. There is also a shared parking lot.
• 2006 Lamont County identifies the need for more space and commissioned Stantec Engineering to provide drawings for expansion. Two options are provided.
Option 1. To add 2725 sq ft to the building and the Town of Lamont to remain a tenant. The projected budget for this option was $ 3,128,700.00.
Option 2. To relocate the offices of the Town of Lamont and use the additional space exclusively by Lamont County. The projected budget for this option was $ 1,904,696.00.
The Council of the Town of Lamont preferred option 1. They were satisfied with the current location and felt no need to leave. Lamont County said they would require (up to $ 6,789.25 per month) for rent if option 1 was selected. The Council of the Town of Lamont felt that for the rent requested, the money would be better spent acquiring an equity interest in the building. Lamont County Council informed the Town of Lamont Council that they would not consider the town purchasing an equity position in the building.
With the rent requested being too high and the option of purchasing an equity position being rejected, the Council of the Town of Lamont decided to look at relocating to an existing location or building a new building.
Councillors Sherry Stadnick and Councillor Bill Skinner were appointed by Council to investigate the options of moving to a new location or building a new building.
• 2007 Lamont County decided not to proceed with renovations. The Council of the Town of Lamont had no intention to relocate either to an existing building or construction of a new building as long the Town was allowed to remain in the current location. Council did not want to spend money as long as the current location was available.
• 2007 the lease with Lamont County expired and a new lease was signed. The new lease provided for an expiry date of December 31, 2010. The lease provided that the lease would not be renewed after December 31, 2010. The County wanted the Town out of the offices by December 31, 2010. The County wanted the space for the expansion of their staff. It was clear that the Town had three years to find alternative offices.
The Town has essentially the same payment options as an individual when they know they are going to have a major expenditure.
1. Take the money out of your savings. We did not have sufficient savings at that time.
2. Borrow the money from the bank. We had virtually no debt so borrowing was an option.
3. Ask your boss for a big raise in the year you need the money. Council did not want to increase the taxes by 50% in one year. (You probably wouldn’t get a 50% increase in your salary in one year either)
4. Ask a kindly relative to give you the money. The Province of Alberta would give us a major portion of the funds if the project qualified.
5. Save money over a number of years until you can afford the expenditure.
Council decided that any money saved on municipal projects would be put into Reserves. From 2007 – 2010 net savings were put into a reserve so as to be able to afford a new Civic Centre.
We are now in the position that:
• Sufficient money is in reserves to pay for a new Civic Centre without effecting municipal taxes.
• Our credit is so good we could borrow the entire cost of the project.
• We can get a major portion as a grant from the Alberta Government.
2009 - 2010
Knowing that they had to vacate the present town office by December 31, 2010, many possible locations were considered. Plans were prepared for a new Civic Centre. Everything seemed to take longer than anticipated. The Town was not prepared to vacate the current building by December 31, 2010 and asked Lamont County for an extension of the lease. Lamont County agreed to extend the lease until December 31, 2011.
The Town of Lamont Council did due diligence concerning alternatives and was ready to send plans for a new Civic Centre to tender. In August of 2010 a group of people felt that Council had not sufficiently looked at alternatives for relocating. They called themselves the “Relocation Committee”. The Relocation Committee was composed of Leon Lebedkin, Denis Kucy, Jody Foulds, James Zabel, Dan Cholak, Wayne Cholak and Allan Carter. The Council of the Town wanted to ensure that all alternatives had been considered fully and agreed to defer sending the plans for a new Civic Center to tender until after the municipal election which would be held later that fall. They appointed Councilor Bill Skinner and Councilor Gail Hrehorets to this committee.
In November, the Relocation Committee made a presentation to the Council of the Town of Lamont. Their recommendation was to renovate the “old town office”. This location is currently occupied by the RCMP. No recommendations were made on what to do with the RCMP.
The Town Council had previously considered this location but nevertheless requested Hodgson Schilf Architects to take a closer look at this location and make a report.
Click here full report from the architect.
As a result of this report and particularly the conclusion that, “given the extent of the renovations, building addition and associated costs required to meet the program we would recommend the Town explore other alternatives” council sent the drawings for a new Civic Center to tender.
It should be noted that the tenders have the provision, “lowest or any tender not necessarily accepted.”
• The concept of a new Civic Centre is not new. It has been considered since 2006.
• The Town has to vacate the current location by December 31, 2011.
• Whether it’s a new building or a renovation, the capital project can be fully paid for with no effect on municipal taxes.
As other viable alternatives become available they will also be considered but the date the Town has to vacate the current location must also be remembered.
Photos of the new Civic Centre.