Construction set to start on new North Saanich hall

Doors to the North Saanich municipal hall will remain open and it will be business as usual when construction starts later this month.

Colette Miller

Doors to the District of North Saanich municipal hall will remain open and it will be business as usual when construction starts later this month.

Members of municipal council and representatives of Verity Construction Ltd. officially broke ground Monday, on the project to revamp and replace a significant amount of the existing district hall. Mayor Alice Finall says she’s happy that the council has moved so quickly to get the work started.

Verity, with design work from Musgrave Architects and Victoria Design Group will begin the first phase of the project this month, by renovating the west side of the existing building and adding a new wing off the south frontage of the structure. That work will also include rebuilding the exterior of the north wall, said Victoria Design Group owner Wil Peereboom. The wall has been damaged by water leakage and has long been a problem for the district.

The $.2.5 million project will then demolish the older, east portion of the building. A new council chamber, built to post-disaster standards, will be put up in its place in the second phase of construction.

Finall and Chief Administrative Officer Rob Buchan noted the phasing of the work will mean staff will be able to continue without interruption and the public will still be able to access the municipal hall on district business.

“Phase one, the new wing, will see everybody move into it once it’s done,” said Buchan. “That won’t happen until some time in the summer or later next year.”

Peereboom said the west portion will be walled off during construction, allowing access to the existing council chamber and administrative offices. Work will be done to fix issues related to water leakage and the new wing will be built. Once crews move to the east side, he said it’s a complete rebuild, from the ground-up.

There will be some innovation in the new structure. He said the council chamber will be built to withstand an earthquake or other disaster and be able to function as a community emergency operations centre. To do so, it will be outfitted with a bank of batteries, some charged with solar power.

Finall said she’s happy with this addition, noting that if it’s successful, the battery wall being installed might be able to sell power back to the Hydro grid and perhaps even pay for itself.

The new east portion of the municipal hall will include washrooms and an improved basement with more meeting space as well as storage areas.

The second phase of the project is likely at least seven to eight months away, said Peereboom. Construction, once it starts, will last at least that long, with a break in the middle to allow staff to move over.

During that time, the council chamber will not be available. Finall said the Town of Sidney has already offered their chamber to their North Saanich counterparts. While it’s an option, she said, there’s a conflict in that both councils hold their meetings on Monday nights. Finall said she would like to maintain their Monday evening meetings for the sake of the public — and has asked staff to look into other locations to hold their meetings.

Currently, the construction company is waiting for its building permit.

Just Posted

Sidney BIA says sad goodbye to president and executive director

Susan Simosko and Donna Petrie leave, board members fill new positions

Wind gusts turn away cruise ships from Victoria harbour

Weather conditions make docking difficult for large ships

Slow down for maintenance on the Malahat this week

Minor touch-ups and repairs scheduled Monday through Thursday

Langford liquor store targeted by thieves twice in one night

West Shore RCMP seek to identify break and enter suspect

Pair of Saanich fires, including one that resulted in a death, remain under investigation

Saanich Fire expect to wrap up investigation into Richmond Road Tuesday

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Top B.C. court upholds ruling that struck down indefinite solitary confinement

Feds had appealed ruling in case brought by B.C. Civil Liberties Association, John Howard Society

Two bear cubs saved near Revelstoke after mother hit by car

Conservation officers trapped the cubs and transported them to a wildlife sanctuary

Heroism medal for B.C. woman who tried to save wheelchair-bound man stuck on rail tracks

Julie Callaghan awarded Carnegie Medal from U.S.-based foundation for ‘extraordinary heroism’

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

B.C. students’ camping trip goes ahead despite tents getting stolen

Nanaimo businesses, school staff and parents ensure trip goes on

Only legal pot shop between Vancouver and Kamloops now open

Private cannabis store on Skwah land in Chilliwack is first B.C. licensee to be Indigenous owned

Most Read