Southamp­ton’s fu­ture?

’Where her­itage and fu­ture in­ter­sect’

Shoreline Beacon - - Front Page - Frances Lear­ment Ed­i­tor

op­tions to re­vi­tal­ize the southamp­ton Town hall and re­build a new ad­ja­cent li­brary will be re­viewed by saugeen shores staff af­ter coun­cil­lors re­ceived the Town’s ad hoc com­mit­tee fi­nal re­port, which en­dorsed a con­cept of full restora­tion and a new li­brary, with an $8.9 mil­lion price tag, at the nov. 27 town com­mit­tee of the whole meet­ing.

“Where her­itage and fu­ture in­ter­sect” is the ti­tle of the re­port that dun­can mccal­lum, chair of the ad hoc com­mit­tee, pre­sented to coun­cil­lors for a “com­mu­nity place cen­tre. With repast to fix ex­ist­ing de­fi­cien­cies to both the Town hall and the li­brary es­ti­mated to cost $2.5 to $3.5 mil­lion over the next few years - in­clud­ing con­cerns that there may be mold or as­bestos in the build­ings mold - mccal­lum said the so­lu­tion is to de­velop a com­mu­nity place cen­tre that in­cludes full restora­tion of the Town hall, de­mo­li­tion of the ex­ist­ing li­brary and re­place­ment with a new stylis­tic li­brary of the fu­ture, linked to the Town hall with a cen­tral atrium.

mccal­lum said as the ad hoc com­mit­tee mem­bers are also tax­pay­ers, they are “mind­ful” of the po­ten­tial costs and will work with the con­sul­tants to re­duce the costs but not negate the “ex­cite­ment, feel, op­por­tu­nity and the in­tegrity” of the pro­posed plan.

not­ing that the Town is con­sid­er­ing sev­eral pro­posed multi-mil­lion projects - a new po­lice sta­tion a new pool/aquat­ics cen­tre and ma­jor water­front re­de­vel­op­ment - mccal­lum sug­gested the pro­jected $8.9 mil­lion cost could be whit­tled down .

“There needs to be some strong in­ves­ti­ga­tion of govern­ment fund­ing avail­abil­ity,” mccal­lum said, sug­gest­ing they should look at all of the town’s fund­ing com­mit­ments as a whole, in­stead of one-by-one. he also noted that the $8.9 mil­lion cost is 20 per cent plus or mi­nus at this point, but will be re­duced to just two per cent plus or mi­nus by the time they are ready to ten­der the project.

With some quick cal­cu­la­tions, mccal­lum was able to sug­gest the $8.9 mil­lion price tag could be re­duced by a 10 to 12 per cent cost re­duc­tion, to a net cost of $5 mil­lion.

“We have great com­fort, and [a] great feel­ing that we can do a pub­lic sub­scrip­tion for this un­der­tak­ing and we think that cap­i­tal fund­ing, some­where in the neigh­bour­hood of $2 -$2.5 mil­lion range over a five-year pledge pe­riod, is re­al­iz­able ” mccal­lum said. he pre­dicted it would be dif­fi­cult to con­vince the pub­lic to spend $2.5 to $3.5 mil­lion just to re­pair de­fi­cien­cies, and sug­gested the next step should in­clude the Town is­su­ing a re­quest for pro­posal to get the project to shov­el­ready sta­tus.

deputy mayor luke char­bon­neau thanked the com­mit­tee for its 18 months of work to get to this point, and said it is a “re­ally cool” project and praised mccal­lum for how quick he was to talk the project down to $5 mil­lion. he added the 20 point spread on the pro­jected cost could mean an $11.4 mil­lion price tag.

char­bon­neau said the key is know­ing what that fig­ure is so coun­cil can then de­cide how much it could pos­si­bly fund. he said like the re­cent de­bate over the cost of a new pool/aquatic cen­tre, it is not a ques­tion if coun­cil­lors sup­port the town hall/li­brary plan, but their fi­nan­cial ca­pac­ity to pay for it.

“We need to do more work and get down to a num­ber within that plus or mi­nus two per­cent and then coun­cil makes a call about how much it can fund and where the rest of the money comes from,” char­bon­neau said.

Ques­tioned by coun. mike my­att about the cost to get the project shovel-re`ady with de­tailed draw­ings, Town cao david smith sug­gested ap­prox­i­mately $1 mil­lion would be re­quired. (staff noted ap­prox­i­mately $400,000 has been spent on southamp­ton Town hall to re­pair the clock tower and re­place stairs, and $230,000 is ear­marked in 2018 to fix iden­ti­fied de­fi­cien­cies.)

my­att said be­fore he could get to the re­quest for pro­posal stage that in­cludes a per­form­ing arts/con­fer­ence cen­tre, he’d like to see a needs as­sess­ment and busi­ness plan to en­sure they are not du­pli­cat­ing space, in­clud­ing a ma­jor ren­o­va­tion to the near-by bruce county mu­seum & cul­tural cen­tre.

mccal­lum said the mu­seum project is mainly to in­crease ar­chive space, not a per­form­ing cen­tre, and he fore­sees work­ing with the mu­seum, not com­pet­ing with it.

coun. neil man­age said be­fore they go any fur­ther, staff needs to in­ves­ti­gate if there is a mold or as­bestos prob­lem, as noted in the ad hoc com­mit­tee re­port, or not, and if there is, fix it now.

Vice deputy mayor diane huber noted the Town hall was built 110 years ago, and coun­cil­lors now have the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate some­thing that will be cel­e­brated 105 years from now.she said even with more in­for­ma­tion to come, she ap­pre­ci­ated the “quiet en­thu­si­asm” for the project.

coun. don math­e­son said if they do noth­ing, they still face $2 to $3 mil­lion in costs to make manda­tory repairs to what is there, and ques­tioned if it’s worth spend­ing that amount of money just for repairs.

“This a a project that’s go­ing to lead us into the next 20, 30 or 40 years. We’re look­ing at sports tourism the town’s go­ing to be grow­ing and we need have some­thing that is go­ing to at­tract the cul­tural unit to this ” math­e­son said.

mayor mike smith also thanked the ad hoc com­mit­tee for its work, and pre­dicted that they knew the is­sue would be the cost.

mccal­lum said the ex­cite­ment with the to­tal vision of the project is hav­ing a re­stored Town hall, brand new li­brary of the fu­ture and atrium, tak­ing nam­ing rights to spon­sors, and is a bet­ter prospect to take to the pu­bic for fi­nan­cial sup­port than just a re­pair project.

Frances Lear­ment/ShorE­linE BEa­con

Dun­can McCal­lum, Chair of the Ad Hoc Southamp­ton Town Hall com­mit­tee, pre­sented a wrap-up re­port that en­dorses the over­all de­sign con­cept for a twinned Town Hall and li­brary — a com­mu­nity place cen­tre — with a pro­jected $8.9 mil­lion price tag to the Nov. 27 Saugeen Shores com­mit­tee of the whole.

This con­cept draw­ing shows what a twinned Southamp­ton Town Hall and Li­brary project could look like. Town staff will study op­tions and re­port back to coun­cil. As pro­posed, the con­struc­tion price tag is $8.9 mil­lion, plus or mi­nus 20 per cent.

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