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CAROLYN'S CORNER: Municipality to open new municipal services building in 2020

After extensive study and public engagement that began in the spring of 2017, Council voted to build a new Municipal Services Building.

The decision to invest in a new Municipal Services Building was not taken lightly.

Council has taken the necessary steps to ensure we have established the need for the building, and that it is part of a prudent and responsible financial plan.

The Municipality currently operates out of 210 Aberdeen in the Town of Bridgewater, a building that opened in 1970.

In 2009, the Council of the day commissioned a Space Needs Assessment and Option Report.

Deficiencies in security and adequate work space were identified at that time.

Since then, we’ve seen the addition of new municipal services downloaded from the province, and new provincial accessibility legislation introduced.

The problems we face in this building hinder us from being able to provide accessible services to our residents, having all staff under one roof, and providing a safe and healthy work environment for our staff.

Nearly two years ago, in the spring of 2017, Council voted to examine the issue of building a new Municipal Services Building.

That fall, we received an Options Report from Catalyst Consulting that determined that it would be more expensive to renovate and expand the existing building to meet accessibility and code requirements than it would be to invest in a new building.

With Catalyst, we engaged a design team to help visualize the building and test the initial cost estimate.

Over the past two years, we’ve engaged the public to hear their thoughts on the issue through open houses, Your Government, Your Ideas meetings, ads in the local newspapers and radio stations, social media, Municipal Matters, and our website.

We heard from more than 300 residents, and appreciate their participation in the process.

The building will be located on municipally-owned land at Osprey Village, and will cost $7.2 million to construct.

The design of the building has been developed to use as many locally-sourced materials and tradespeople as possible, and to achieve an energy use that is 30 per cent less than National Building Code requirements.

In addition to being fully accessible, the design of the building would enable the Municipality to offer improved service for the thousands of residents who utilize the building each year.

Previous and current Councils have set funds aside for this project for many years, which means the Municipality will not incur debt or raise taxes to build a new Municipal Services building.

The Municipality continues to be on track to be debt-free by 2021.

To learn more, visit modl.ca/210Aberdeen.

Carolyn Bolivar-Getson is the mayor of the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg. She will engage with South Shore Breaker readers by sharing updates from the community on a monthly basis.

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