Public works supervisor defends laundry room
More details released on Carbonear’s new works depot design
Carbonear’s decision to include a laundry facility in its new public works facility on Goff Avenue has been met by criticism from some town residents.
But Director of Public Works Brian O’Grady was quick to defend the addition, and gave a more detailed look into what the new facility will include.
For several years, the town council has been fighting for a new public works yard because the current one located on Bannerman Street has been outgrown. The yard houses all the heavy equipment, the former municipal building and a two-bay garage.
In the past five years, an excavator, asphalt recycler and several other pieces of machinery have been added to the inventory.
The downstairs of the former municipal building has been used as a lunchroom for the employees since 1998, when the Conception Bay Regional Community Centre opened its doors.
The upstairs is used by the fire department and has been turned into a maze for training.
But the new depot will have some more additions that are not found in the current location. O’Grady explained, when you grow and expand, you need to accommodate the added needs.
When the previous story was published about the new depot, public works employees began talking about the criticism being received about the laundry facility.
O’Grady confirmed there had been some chatter, but has brushed it off. He did, however, confirm the washer and dryer will be a vital part of the depot.
Staff work with a variety of chemicals and sewer systems daily. This increases their risk for exposure. The possibility of a spill is real, and O’Grady wanted to ensure if there was an issue, it could be dealt with immediately.
“If someone gets doused, they can take off their coveralls and toss them in the washer,” he said.
One comment on the article mentioned using the laundry facility for the worker’s own dirty clothes, but that is not the intention.
“I don’t expect people to bring laundry from home,” O’Grady laughed.
That is the same reason why there will be a shower located in a female washroom on site. It can be used in emergencies if someone gets sprayed or covered in chemicals.
But why is there a female washroom for a group of allmale staff ?
“We needed a second bathroom if we end up getting female employees,” O’Grady said. He is confident the day is coming a female will be employed in the work yard.
A rough CAD drawing has been on O’Grady’s desk since last month, and he showed The Compass what else is going to be included in the building.
The new lunchroom is larger than the current one, and will allow for the addition of new employees. Amenities are expected to be the same — microwave, sink and a fridge. There will be a range as well, unlike in the current location.
A locker room will also be a new addition, where employees can keep their spare coveralls, construction vests and other things they don’t want to keep on them during the work day. A porch was turned into a space to keep coats and other personal items at the Bannerman Street location.
There will also be several offices at the front of the building, including one for O’Grady, a tool room, storage space for water and sewer supplies and a carpentry shop.
A two-bay heated garage for equipment maintenance will also be included.
All of the above mentioned will cover approximately 800 square metres of the 1,200 square metre facility.
The remaining 400 will be an unheated storage facility.
“The unheated storage will be for lots of little things, but mostly for all the gear that we can’t store outside,” O’Grady noted, giving the recycler as an example.
O’Grady would ideally like to see the construction begin immediately, but because of the size of the facility, the town must hire an architect to design the structure.
“It has now been approved by council to solicit the assistance of an architect,” he said. “Once we get the size and design done, we can work on quotes.”
It was obvious O’Grady believes the extra space is going to be beneficial, but he was just as concerned as moving from the current location into an industrial park.
“We’ll be moving out of downtown, so we’ll get out of a residential area,” he said. “I’d like to see it sooner rather than later.”
When asked what the building would look like, O’Grady smiled.
“It will have nice curb appeal and aesthetically pleasing to the area,” he said.