REPORTING · 11th July 2012
Council is looking at a new home… and it is mobile. At the Regular Meeting of Kitimat Council on July 3rd, Council was provided a report on the ATCO Modular Meeting Room. This item appears to have sprung from the In Camera Meeting on June 25th, where it was tabled.
The Current Council Chambers is not accessible to everyone. The staircase makes it difficult for people with disabilities to get to the Council Chambers and the stair climbing device is considered unsafe by people who need to use it to get to the Chambers.
To allow everyone to see a public meeting of Council, there has been discussion for the last couple of years about where the Council could hold the meeting. Options have included (but are not limited to), the courthouse, Riverlodge and KVI but all of these have been ruled out for one reason or another.
While the five year plan includes plans for a City Hall, this project has been put on the 5th year of every plan, considered a wish year where they put all their big projects which they want to build, but can not afford.
Although Council has determined this meeting room not to be a trailer, it will consist of three 14.6’ X 50’ components, hold the chambers, a vestibule, and bathrooms in addition to a mechanical room.
The report to Council from Municipal Clerk, Walter McLellan recommended not purchasing the ATCO Modular Meeting Hall. It is estimated to cost up to $625,000 which is not budgeted for and once in location, would cost more money to landscape and hook up to electrical. He also suggested the Council should consider when the District will get its City Hall prior to making a decision.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff made the motion to pursue the ATCO Modular Meeting Hall. “In the past, this was discussed to some degree in camera because it had to do with negotiations of land and what have you, we’re talking about pursuing such an option and we’re told $545,000 – $652,000 plus land, servicing and parking. I believe parking, servicing and landscaping costs could be kept to a minimum Madam Mayor if the Modular Units were put in the vicinity of Riverlodge Area where much of the infrastructure already exists,” said Feldhoff.
He expressed this would fill the long standing need after going around on the subject of providing access to Council Meetings. He suggested they could build a new City Hall but it could take many years to get the new building. He also told the Council the modular units would have a use after serving as a City Hall.
Councillor Corrine Scott agreed. She stated there were any number of groups which could use this space after Council is done with it. They have also put away money in a building fund, setting aside money for a new fire hall, information centre, City Hall or museum.
“All of our public buildings need to be accessible to everybody in this community. Meanwhile, what the amount of money this building would cost, I think it would meet our needs, we’ve got money in the budget for it and it could be turned over for future use for other groups in the community when we are finished with it,” said Scott.
Councillor Phil Germuth was opposed. While he was all for people with disabilities accessing Council Meetings, he was unwilling to spend potentially up to $1,000,000 on a temporary solution to a long term problem. He pointed out there was a building committee formed to look at and design buildings.
More importantly, he did not wish to see City Hall at Riverlodge. “City Hall should be the focus of the community, somewhere central. To spend that much money at this time, I just think there are other things, a boat launch, a marina or some campsites that we could better put the money to.
Councillor Mary Murphy stated this issue has been before Council for as long as she could remember. She stated there were reasons why the Council could not make the meetings accessible for everyone.
“We have people with limitations, and we have an aging community and we have to address their needs. I’m hoping it’s not going to cost $1,000,000. That’s what it says here. We’re trying to keep those costs as low as we possibly can but we don’t have a solution to our problem so far. This is the only solution that’s come forward,” said Murphy.
Germuth stated the Council was putting the cart before the horse when they should know their timeframe on the City Hall before spending a million dollars. Several of the Councillors asked where his amount was coming from and Germuth replied landscaping and utilities were a part of his cost.
Scott expressed if the Mobile Council Chambers were put next to Riverlodge, the costs would be nothing. She also stated the building committee has not been formed yet and this will not stop further plans for public building.
Councillor Rob Goffinet stated building a City Hall would solve the problem, but this was a stop gap measure. He pointed out staff was supposed to come back with a full costing of the building. He wanted figures for the proposal. He proposed to defeat the motion and ask Administration to come back with the costs.
Murphy stated these buildings could be incorporated into a City Hall. She said they could find money for other projects and it was important to give citizens the option to allow them to attend Council Meetings.
She also stated she did not want to hear about people potentially bugging the rooms Council holds their In Camera Meetings in or disrupting other people’s recreation by holding it at the Riverlodge.
Councillor Edwin Empindo said he did not have an issue with the motion but did not want to spend allot of money on it.
Municipal Manager Ron Poole stated Council was not rubberstamping the new building. If Council wants it, they can look into it further. The building committee has been formed and is an in house committee. The committee could come up with other options as well.
Goffinet wanted to know if the motion was sending Council down the ATCO option. He did not want to commit without definitive figures. Poole stated the motion is to pursue.
Mayor Joanne Monaghan asked if it would come back to Council? She was told they would commit to it. Feldhoff wanted to close debate.
Germuth was unsure how they would incorporate the structure into City Hall. Monaghan stated there were a lot of places where the building could be built. Monaghan stated people with disabilities have wanted to go to meetings for so long and she did not want to make them wait further when many other communities have used ATCO Structures to fill the need for buildings.
She told Council there were a lot of them on Vancouver Island. There these temporary structures serve as hospitals, schools, Council buildings, senior housing and other. She figured this made them worth looking at.
Feldhoff stated the structure would not be built next week and staff would come back if it cost a million dollars. He did not think it would cost a lot and was looking forward to the direction. A City Hall was a separate debate for a later time.
The motion was called and carried.
Comment by outdoorsman on 12th July 2012
no no you got it all wrong guys remenber she dont want to change kitimat we from the 50/60's cant let timmies have a pole sign so they cant build anything new gotta get an old acto trialer fits in better they should build a new city hall and stop paying rent to the mall and now rent a few acto 's im not sure but 1 mill should build a nice place but more like 2 mil if its anything like the shelter to be only 150thou not 1.2 million
Comment by estannus on 12th July 2012
Seems strange that the city has not invested/built a visible and more prominent city hall by now.
Instead of renting office space from the mall and buying ATCO trailers, build a stand-alone municipal hall and demonstrate confidence in this community.
Comment by Linda Halyk on 12th July 2012
What are these trailers going to be made of gold?
A million bucks for a temporary trailer city hall, I think I've heard it all now.
Is this money burning a hole in your pockets?
Give your heads a shake and spend the tax payers money wisely.
COUNCIL LOOKING TO MOVE INTO MOBILE HOME
Comment by Carlosroberto on 11th July 2012
I have never heard an explanation of why the courthouse can't be used for council meetings. Is there a valid reason, or is it just that Council doesn't want to move?
Atco trailers? There are several of them across the road from Riverlodge. What's wrong with them?
"new council office"??
Comment by susui on 11th July 2012
correct me if Im wrong, but what about The old KCH trailers beside Riverlodge, are they not available, nice and roomy in there, wheelchair accesible, washrooms, etc etc.. but ATCO trailers no way, use something that is already available..and yes we the public should get to vote on it thats a huge expense.. I think also its more important the Fire Hall be upgraded before the Council Office!!!
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 11th July 2012
If you want atco trailers for a city hall ,approach KCH and rent their building. Even if they charge you a thousand dollars per council meeting ,it is still much cheaper than spending 1 million for a temporary structure. Or maybe even try the old video stop building next to trigos, I am sure you could install video equipment ant mics to hold meetings and I am sure the monthly rent would be cheaper than wasting money on a temporary structure .Please use your heads council and spend our money wisely.
Comment by Rory Brown on 11th July 2012
Do we really need to spend close to $1,000,000 on a "temporary" building? I don't think so. But don't take my word for it, lets vote on it. the tax payers of Kitimat should have a say in this stupid waste of money. Phil had it right. the extra costs will be there. After the trailers are set up, councel will want to dress up the front, improve parking, pave the parking lot (if it isn't now). This is our city hall. Is this what we want to tell potential industry what Kitimat is? Temporary!!!! This is the same group of people that don't want to let Timmie's put up a pole sign becouse it will take away from the look of Kitimat, but an ATCO City Hall will add to it? Take that $1,000,000, add it to the pot, and build a much needed fire hall. It can be built right next to the old one and the garage area can be used, saving tax dollars. City Hall could be incorporated into it. The city ownes the property, so money is saved there too. Not to mention that our firemen need a better, safer facility alot more that we need a ATCO City Hall, but don't take my word for it, put it to a public vote.
What A Waste of Taxpayers Money$
Comment by Larry on 11th July 2012
There are so many empty buildings in this town that could be retrofitted to meet this need. Like boarded up schools and the recently vacated Sea Cadet building to name just two. Besides most of the important issues of council are discussed "in camera".
We need another marina before we consider a new Council Chamber (okay, you could add a room to the marina dock for council but make sure you secure it with light rope just in case someone decides to "cut them loose in the middle of the nite"