| Dec 10, 2009


Back to HomeFeature Article - December 10, 2009 South Frontenac Council

Streamlined Sydenham library design fits budget

By Jeff Green

A design for a 5,500 square foot library, which includes a multi-purpose room and all of the major features that were included in a previous design that a budget estimator had determined would be $350,000 over budget, was brought forward last week.

Gerry Shoalts of the architectural firm Shoalts and Zabach presented the revised project design to a meeting of the Sydenham Library Committee at a meeting last Thursday, December 3.

The estimated construction cost of the new design is $1.72 million. With other fees (design permits and site development) and costs added in, the project will reach the $2.1 million total that was envisioned when Frontenac County applied for a grant on behalf of the township last spring. The county received a $1.4 million grant for the project out of federal/provincial stimulus funding, and the ratepayers from South Frontenac will kick in the remaining $700,000.

“The building will be 500 square feet smaller than the original design, but it will contain more book stacks than the original design, based on comments from the committee,” said Gerry Shoalts.

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The revised plan no longer includes a basement, and decreases the size of the staff room, “but for its size we feel the staff room is still sufficient,” Shoalts said.

While the initial design included accessibility features in all three washrooms in the building, the new design includes a fully accessible washroom only in the family room, while the other washrooms are smaller. The building is a one-floor structure with wide entrances.

Committee member Neil Allen, who uses a wheelchair himself, said that “provided the family room washroom is completely barrier free, it will be ok.” Allen also said that the option of heat-activated water spouts should be avoided, because they are dependent on electricity and are prone to breaking down. Gerry Shoalts concurred.

Other savings were found in a change in construction materials, particularly a move to an entirely wood frame building from a steel studded building, and a switch from stone to brick for the external wall.

One change was questioned by members of council, however. The revised plan calls for a shingle roof in place of a steel roof, and Councilors David Hahn and Ron Vandewal questioned this, given the shorter lifespan of a shingle roof.

“I don't want us to save money now, and leave a cost 15 years down the road,” said Hahn.

“Steel roofs have 100-year lifespan,” said Vandewal.

Gerry Shoalts said it would be possible to include the two roofing options on the tender document, which is slated for the end of January. He pointed out that the company that was hired to estimate the cost of construction “always uses conservative figures, so the tender price would be somewhat lower.”

But the impact of the federal stimulus programs on all public construction projects next year will be a big x factor. “We will be going to tender with this one just as the bulk of the projects across the region and the country are being built, and we don't know what that will mean as far as the number of contractors who will want to bid on it, and what the effect on the bid prices will be,” Shoalts said.

The revised plan was accepted by the committee, and will be presented for approval to South Frontenac Council on December 15.

Council should be somewhat familiar with it already, as five of the nine members of council attended last week's committee meeting. 

COUNCIL REALIGNMENT PROPOSAL FIZZLES

By Wilma Kenny

Councilor John Fillion of Storrington brought a notice of motion to realign council to 'representation according to population,' by permitting Bedford district only one elected councilor, because of its lower population. Hisrationale was that in an even-numbered council, tie votes are possible, and in such cases the mayor is called upon to cast the deciding vote. He felt this deadlock was counterproductive, and made 'an uncomfortable chamber.' (It might be noted that this particular council seems to often find the councilors from Loughborough and Bedford districts supporting one side of an issue, against the councilors from Storrington and Portland. And the mayor seems to have tended to agree more often with the choices made by Bedford and Loughborough. However, councilors from the same districts do not agree with each other on all issues.)

The background information provided by the clerk's office, based on 2006 MPAC reports, showed that Portland district, not Bedford, had the lowest number of voters, lowest property value assessment, and in 2009, raised half a million dollars less in taxes than Bedford.Fillion withdrew his notice of motion, on the grounds that the population numbers he had obtained for Bedford were much lower than those in thestaff report.

Mayor Davison said he had received a flurry of e-mails protesting the motion. He closed the discussion, saying, "This is dead."

WINTER ROADS CONTROL PROGRAM: Mark Segsworth noted that he and his staff have made adjustments that should result in a higher level of service than last year. He said that any residents with concerns relating to winter roads should phone 376-3900, which will have a live person on the line daily between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Outside those hours, messages will be relayed to a patrol truck, which will be on the road 6 pm to 6 am weekdays, and 24 hours a day on weekends. He also spoke of treating Perth Road, Rutledge Road and Sydenham Roads as arteries on par with Road 38. This winter, residents will be actively discouraged from plowing or shovelling snow from private drives onto roads. If they do not heed an initial warning, the by-law officer will be notified.

SOLID WASTE COLLECTION RFP: Segsworth also reported on the Sustainability Committee's recommendations for developing the terms, conditions and specifications for the solid waste collection Request for Proposal. Most of the existing contracts expire at the end of August 2010.

One of the primary goals is to provide a consistent level of service throughout the whole township, including Bedford. Segsworth noted there are still challenges to providing consistent service in the areas presently serviced.

Currently, collection contractors are paid on a lump sum basis with annual increases based on increases in the number of new households. Segsworth said his suggestion they change this system to paying per tonne of waste collected was 'not exactly warmly embraced' by the Sustainability Committee. He said this was 'an area that we need to get to', noting that from a best practices perspective, pricing per tonne reduces costs and increases collection rates. It is intended that over the term of the upcoming RFP, more accurate information will be gathered about the quantities of waste generated within the township.

Councilor Robinson said he thought the sustainability committee's comments should be called suggestions, not decisions: Mayor Davison clarified that they were merely decisions brought forward to Council for their discussion.

PHOTOVOLTAIC RECOMMENDATIONS: Students from the St Lawrence Green Energy project reported back on their assessment of the suitability of installing photovoltaic cells on township buildings. They presented Council with a full and detailed report, which indicated that, for example, a ten kilowatt system installed on the present Sydenham library at an initial cost of $80,000 could realize $110,000 clear profit over 20 years. Councillor Ron Vandewal said this should come back to Council for consideration, once councillors had had an opportunity to study the report: "It looks like a win-win situation."

NEW ELECTION DATE PENDING: Mayor Davison announced that the province is in the process of establishing the 4th Monday in October as the municipal Election Day: "It doesn't interfere with Thanksgiving, Hallowe'en, or deer hunting; absolutely perfect!"

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