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Wellesley eyes council chamber upgrades

Wellesley Township recorded another episode this week in the long-running decorating drama that is the council chamber renovations.

Meeting Tuesday evening, councillors considered a motion that proposed spending just over $19,000 to renovate the interior of the Crosshill building. Renovations have been on the to-do list for the past two years, but councillors have been unable to agree on how extensive they should be.

On June 1, council finally passed a motion to obtain pricing for painting the paneling and replacing the carpet and ceramic tile. They also asked for quotes on new window coverings to replace the wooden shutters and new chairs for the audience gallery.

This week staff reported back with the requested quotes. Installing new flooring throughout would cost $11,965; new window coverings would cost $1,170; painting the interior was quoted at $3,295; and purchasing 50 new chairs for the audience would cost $2,769, for a total of $19,199.

“I can’t support this,” said Mayor Ross Kelterborn, balking at spending almost $20,000 during a recession. “These are difficult times for a lot of people in our township.”

Kelterborn agreed that the green-and-white tile in the audience gallery, which is buckling in places, would need to be replaced. However, he felt the carpeting was in good condition and expressed fondness for the ’70s-era wood paneling on the wall.

Coun. Herb Neher also objected to the cost, arguing they should limit the work to replacing the tile, painting the walls and buying new chairs for the audience.

“We’ve gotten into these add-ons and add-ons, and I have the same concerns [as Kelterborn],” he said.

When it came to a vote, councillors Shelley Wagner and Paul Hergott were in favour; Coun. Jim Olender sided with Neher and Kelterborn, defeating the motion.

After some discussion, council decided to rescind the motion and opt for a less extreme makeover, addressing the floor, chairs, and painting the paneling. There will be at least one more segment to the show before any paint goes on the walls, as the new motion is slated to be brought before council at the next meeting Aug. 25.

The entrance of the building will be upgraded in August to meet accessibility standards, and Olender said he would like to see the work done as soon as possible after that.

“The staff time we’ve spent on this is enough to do [the work],” Kelterborn noted wryly.

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