Lay­ing the ground­work for the com­mu­nity hub

The Beacon Herald - - FRONT PAGE - GALEN SIM­MONS STAFF RE­PORTER gsim­mons@post­media.com

In prepa­ra­tion for de­vel­op­ment to be­gin on Strat­ford’s pro­posed Grand Trunk Com­mu­nity Hub, city coun­cil voted Mon­day night to hire NA En­gi­neer­ing to con­duct a struc­tural anal­y­sis on the for­mer Cooper Site’s lo­co­mo­tive re­pair shop.

While coun­cil’s dis­cus­sion about the struc­tural anal­y­sis con­ducted in closed ses­sion, coun­cil­lors voted in open ses­sion at the be­gin­ning of Mon­day’s meet­ing to re­tain NA En­gi­neer­ing As­so­ci­ates Inc. to con­duct the anal­y­sis for no more than $79,200, plus tax.

“In the last cou­ple of years, coun­cil has re­ally gal­va­nized around build­ing a Grand Trunk Com­mu­nity Hub, and one of the con­cepts is to ac­tu­ally use part of the for­mer rail shops,” Strat­ford CAO Rob Horne said. “There hasn’t been an up­dated look at the struc­ture in some time, and NA En­gi­neer­ing has done a con­sid­er­able body of work on the build­ing in the past. So it was log­i­cal for them to do an up­date and over­view.”

If coun­cil de­cides to pro­ceed with de­vel­op­ing a com­mu­nity hub that in­cor­po­rates the old rail shop, Horne said the in­for­ma­tion col­lected dur­ing this sum­mer’s two-month struc­tural anal­y­sis will help in­form the city’s ten­der process, as well as pro­vide use­ful in­for­ma­tion to com­pa­nies that sub­mit bids for the pro­posed project.

Ac­cord­ing to Horne, en­gi­neers will fo­cus largely on the build­ing ’s su­per­struc­ture dur­ing their anal­y­sis, eval­u­at­ing its struc­tural in­tegrity and de­ter­min­ing whether any ad­di­tional re­in­force­ment is needed. The en­gi­neers are also go­ing to look at the roof to give coun­cil a bet­ter idea of whether a roof re­place­ment is needed and, if so, how that could be com­pleted.

While on the roof, en­gi­neers will eval­u­ate the po­ten­tial for in­stalling some kind of so­lar or green power gen­er­a­tor to help re­duce the com­mu­nity hub’s en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.

Though he can’t say for sure, Horne said the en­gi­neers’ re­port will likely come back to coun­cil in open ses­sion at some point at the end of the sum­mer or early fall. If that is the case, the doc­u­ment will be avail­able for pub­lic re­view.

With re­gards to the in-cam­era dis­cus­sion, Horne said coun­cil­lors wanted the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss the mer­its of con­duct­ing the anal­y­sis in the con­text of po­ten­tial fed­eral fund­ing that may be­come avail­able for the com­mu­nity hub project in the near fu­ture but has not yet been con­firmed.

“The rec­om­men­da­tion was passed in open ses­sion, so it was pub­lic in that re­spect, but ba­si­cally be­cause we are ne­go­ti­at­ing with se­nior govern­ment – we’ve been suc­cess­ful with the pro­vin­cial govern­ment, but we’re still work­ing with the fed­eral govern­ment – coun­cil needed to make a de­ci­sion rel­a­tive to some of those dis­cus­sions. It was just to have a dis­cus­sion about some of the early ne­go­ti­a­tions that we’re hav­ing and, of course, it’s im­por­tant coun­cil look at that in the con­text of ex­pen­di­tures like this.

“… We’re in dis­cus­sions with a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent par­ties, and be­cause it does have to do with a pend­ing prop­erty trans­ac­tion, there was ( jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for an in­cam­era dis­cus­sion) that way.”

GALEN SIM­MONS/THE BEA­CON HER­ALD

Strat­ford city coun­cil has hired NA En­gi­neer­ing As­so­ci­ates Inc. to con­duct a struc­tural anal­y­sis on the Grand Trunk lo­co­mo­tive re­pair shop in prepa­ra­tion for the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment of a com­mu­nity hub.

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