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Waterloo North Hydro moves into new home

Christmas came a little bit early for the employees of Waterloo North Hydro when, after 18 months of planning and construction, they finally moved into their brand new facility.
Located at 526 Country Squire Rd. in Woolwich Township, just down the road from the new Research in Motion campus, the 105,000 square-foot office is more than double the size of the old headquarters, located at 300 Northfield Dr. in Waterloo.
“We needed more space. We had run out of room,” said Rene Gatien, the utility’s president and CEO.

ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE Waterloo North Hydro CEO Rene Gatien stands in the second-floor hallway of their new $26-million facility. The tongue-and-groove wood near the skylights is made of lumber reclaimed from the barn that used to stand on the site.

“People just didn’t have the room that they should have to get things done.”
Gatien said that members of the same department were spread out in various sections of the building, a situation he described as “disjointed.” Expansion on their old site would have been possible, but there would have been limited opportunities to expand in the future.
Giving each department their own section of the building should help streamline services and make more efficient use of employee time and energy.

The company was also forced to store vehicles and equipment off-site at about half a dozen smaller municipal stations, but now, all of that equipment can be stored in one central location.

Melloul-Blamey Construction of Waterloo, who built the Woolwich Memorial Centre, received the contract for the construction, and the $26-million project began in July, 2010. Employees began the four-day move to the new building on Dec. 3, just two days later than the company had initially planned.

The project was fully funded by Waterloo North Hydro; neither the government nor the utility’s three shareholders (Woolwich, Wellesley, and the City of Waterloo) contributed money, Gatien said.

Woolwich owns a little more than a 20 per cent stake in Waterloo North Hydro, while Wellesley owns about six per cent.

That capital cost of the new building will be passed on to the company’s approximately 53,000 customers, and the impact on the average users bill will be approximately 75 cents per month, amortized over the next 50 years.

From the outset the company had the goal of maintaining energy efficiency wherever possible, and as a result of their efforts they have achieved a LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) silver standard.

The building is nearly 50 per cent more efficient than a similar building would be if built under standard construction practices, and the entire project finished about one per cent over budget, Gatien said.

The lights are all motion-activated, contractors made use of old wood and the concrete foundation of the barn that once stood on the site, they capture rainwater from the roof which is then used to flush the toilets, and a geothermal system heats and cools the structure as well.

Construction is not quite complete, and there are still about a dozen employees working out of the old location still, but the company is already looking into selling its old office and will have a clearer picture of those details in the new year.

For now, employees are still trying to acquaint themselves with their new surroundings and learn the new layout, and Gatien said the move was well worth it both now, and in the future.

“We’ve set up so in the future the office area can be expanded in one direction, and the operations can be expanded in the other direction,” he said.
“It’s going to be here a long time.”

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  1. Waterloo North Hydro is a rip off trash company, From dealing with their rude people that come to our door to their even more rude, ignorant supervisor.

    So they ripped us off, claimed they tried to contact us on a phone number we never provided to them and had disconnected way before ever dealing with them, then cut off our service with a smile!

    Long story our roommate had wasted a large amount of hydro and then took off on us… So this is how the hydro company deals?

    How about you get rid of the illegal DRC tax and stop wasting money on moving buildings and buying an expensive sign.
    Fact is this Hydro company is ripping off the very people they need to support it.
    They are low life scum to do the things they do and they are RUDE about it!
    Id look to our failure of a government that people keep voting for to help us but so far our government has been sailing us down the river and selling all our valuables out from under us.

    It seems that the only person working at these places that even has a soul was the secretary who I apologized to because I was upset, All they care about is money, I mean to supervisor I talked too would put words in my mouth, I’d call him out and he would say that’s not what he said! THIS MAN IS A LIAR! telling me the previous 12 customer of that day were happy! An obvious lie since he don’t even deal with customers!

    He did not care that they had incorrect information that we did not provide to them which is our phone number! All they cared about was getting a reconnection fee out of us even though it was the same day it got disconnected! We can not afford this and yet he smiled and I could tell he did not care, He denies it and says I can’t read his eyes! Well sir you are wrong, I read you like a book and you did not like it!

    These people should be in jail and yet I have learned they will get away with this while we suffer…

    I do not believe in peaceful protest, I believe violence is the answer since it is the tool companies like this hide behind!
    Peaceful protest only ends up in innocent arrests and abuses!

    I also wonder when people are going to start genuinely caring.
    If you work for this company you are a soulless creature regardless of your excuses for doing so!

    Now because of this rip off company I have to sell my valuables… Why? So I can eat? So I can buy gas to get to work with? So I can wake up and be happy?
    No it’s so those POS can sleep in their nice houses and drive their nice cars…

  2. Ok so let me get this straight, I am paying outrageous rates for a replenish-able power supply yet WNH wants US to pay for there NEW facility???? Am I the only one seeing red here? Why has no one asked this question?? Why does hydro cost so much yet everyone has it?????????? Couldn’t be mismanagement and corruption eh? Someone is getting rich and fatter off of everyones expense!!! Instead of you writers siding with the devil, why don’t you cause some real trouble for these idiots and demand to see there books? If they can fork out 23 million for a new facility no problem , why the high rates? Why is my hydro bills exceeding MY RENT?????? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY? Ask these tough questions and get some answers, people have had enough, its just a matter of time before someone burns the damn place down!!!

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