A lean amount of public input spurred the next stages of looking at a new town hall in Central Saanich.
The municipality has been looking at options for the building on Mount Newton X Road since a facilities charette in 2006 that found the facility lacking.
A staff report to council’s committee meeting Monday night outlined a need for more extensive public input.
“We’ve asked them to put it into the budget for public consultation,” said Coun. John Garrison, chair of the community, protective services and facilities committee. “We’ve done a lot of work but I think that the public, the majority, haven’t been exposed to, ‘here’s the grand plan and scheme and what do you think?’”
The district had D’Ambrosio Architecture and Urbansim prepare a schematic design and initial preliminary cost estimate for a proposed new joint municipal hall and police station for the current site in Saanichton. Early estimates would put the buildings at $9 million for the new town hall and police building, and $1.8 million for the satellite fire hall adjacent to the existing Fire Museum. Other costs would be associated to relocation of staff during construction.
“It’s a big ticket item for sure. The reality is the building was built in the late ’60s, early ’70s,” Garrison said. “It’s a big long process. … The first thing is going to be the fire hall.”
An open house in June where the schematics were presented to the public was sparsely attended, according to staff. Council unanimously endorsed the staff recommendation for a structured, multi-faceted communication and public engagement process to get input and comment.
“We’re going to be talking about it at strategic planning,” Garrison said. “It’s going to be one of the priorities to keep it moving along.”
Strategic planning sessions are slated for Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 9 at 9 a.m. at municipal hall, 1903 Mount Newton X Road.
Did you know?
The is working towards a new main fire hall and training centre at 1512 Keating X Rd. The existing fire hall in the municipal hall complex has been in use since 1979 and is considered at risk in the event of an earthquake.