Renovations to the Wellesley council chambers, budgeted to cost $79,000, started this week in Crosshill.
Built in 1854, the former township hall is the oldest continually-used municipal building in the Region of Waterloo. The exterior of the building is the original stone, while the interior, with its brown paneling and green tile floor, is vintage 1970s.
The flooring and paneling will be replaced, the front door widened and new windows installed. Eventually the porch will be rebuilt to bring it level with the front door. Meeting Monday night, councillors considered two options for new audience chairs.
The renovations are necessary to make the building accessible and address health and safety issues, said chief administrative officer Susan Duke. The tiles in the audience gallery are buckling and likely have asbestos in them, while the paneling is not fire rated. Renovations to the front entrance and washrooms are necessary to make the building wheelchair accessible.
The 2010 budget includes $50,000 for interior renovations, $20,000 for work on the exterior, $4,000 for new chairs and $5,000 for making the washrooms wheelchair accessible. Another $7,000 was set aside for replacing the oil furnace.
Wellesley councillors had discussed the renovations a number of times over the past three years and agreed something had to be done but were unable to agree how much. The deteriorating condition of the building and the need to comply with provincial accessibility standards finally forced the issue.
“There are health and safety and accessibility issues that must be addressed,” Duke said.