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Woolwich hires contractor to assess condition of its buildings

Some of the municipal buildings aren’t particularly old, but Woolwich is already planning for the eventual repairs and replacement costs associated with equipment such as heating and cooling systems.

Part of that is good planning, but such asset management plans are required by the province, which is the rationale for spending $50,000 to do a condition assessment of four facilities to start with: the Woolwich Memorial Centre, St. Jacobs arena, Elmira library and township administrative office.

Despite some reservations, township councillors meeting Tuesday night awarded a contract for the work to Paradigm Engineering Group Ltd., the winning bidder in a tender that drew 22 submissions.

Councillors questioned both the need for such a study and the buildings to be assessed.

Coun. Larry Shantz noted the township has spent a considerable amount of money on upgrades at the St. Jacobs arena, for instance, while the WMC is a fairly new building, though it’s been rife with deficiencies since it opened in 2009.

“It’s only 10 years old – it should be in fairly good shape,” said Shantz.

In the case of the St. Jacobs arena, there are some major capital upgrades coming down the pike, explained Jeff Schmidt, the township’s asset management coordinator.

At the WMC, some of the rooftop equipment has a lifespan of 15 years, so it’s best to start planning – and saving – now to replace it, he added.

With the WMC, the review will break the building into smaller components, allowing the township to budget based on what will need to be replaced at measurable intervals, added director of recreation and facilities Ann McArthur, noting the township can better budget for future work if it has a timeline.

Coun Murray Martin challenged the value for money spent, noting most of the issues can be identified without paying a consultant $50,000 to write it up.

“What are you going to tell me about that place … that we don’t already know?” he asked of the library, for example.

Director of finance Richard Petherick said the facility assessment is essentially an expansion of spending the township has made in response to provincially mandated assessment management planning – the township started with hard services such as roads, bridges, water and sewage pipes. Under regulations, it will have to include all buildings in the reporting to the province by 2022.

“The best way for us to do that is a condition assessment,” he said, explaining the process would judge the state of all buildings through the same lens.

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