’Where heritage and future intersect’
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.
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.