City shells out half mill for facility upgrades

City hall in Alberni is getting a $550,000 upgrade after council approved replacing the building’s roof, mechanical systems and boiler

City hall in Alberni is about to get a $550,000 upgrade after council approved plans to replace the aging building’s roof, mechanical systems and boiler.

While council approved the project budget, concerns were raised that no Port Alberni companies were selected to perform the work.

As parks and recreation manager Scott Kenny explained, the 45-year-old roof on the building has never been replaced and is in dire need of repair.

At Monday evening’s city council meeting, approval was granted for the $550,000 project. The budget was increased from the original estimate of $350,000 after the final bids for the work were submitted.

The funds to complete the project will be drawn from the land sale reserve, gas tax revenues and grant money.

The project includes replacement of the mechanical air systems for the building, replacing the original boiler and replacement of the roof. Several layers of the old roof will be removed and replaced. At the same time seismic upgrading and waterproofing work will be done.

A report suggests the changes will reduce total energy use by 34 per cent.

He explained a recent energy audit of the building revealed the cost savings the city could reap by completing the work.

Following the roof replacement, Kenny said lighting upgrades will also be completed. However, the cost of those improvements is not included in the budget.

Kenny hopes some of the preliminary work will begin within the next couple of weeks. He said the project is being planned to take both the number of rainless days left in the year and the comfort of city staff into account.

Roofers cannot work in the rain, but the building’s air conditioning will not function while the work is being done.

“We are hoping to get this done in between the time we need air conditioning and the time it begins to rain we need the heat on,” Kenny said.

It is hoped the work will be completed by the end of October.

Two local companies, Alberni Valley Refridgeration and Flynn Canada (Port Alberni/Victoria) bid on the project.

“I would prefer to see Port Alberni companies getting the work,” said coun. Jack McLeman.

Coun. Cindy Solda echoed that sentiment.

Despite the concerns expressed,  Archie Johnstone Plumbing and Heating of Nanaimo has been awarded the contract to upgrade the mechanical systems and Aurora Roofing of Errington will complete the re-roofing portion of the project.