Council gives pre-budget approval for Phase 3 of Town Hall renovation

Smiths Falls town hall.
Posted on: December 7, 2021

Smiths Falls’ Director of Community Services Art Manhire sought pre-budget approval for going ahead with phase three of the town hall renovation during the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday night. Manhire requested approval for the amount of $1,949,636 before the 2022 budget is finalized. 

In his report, Manhire noted that having pre-budget approval would speed up the timeline of the entire project, allowing for an expected completion date of September 2022. “Pre-budget approval will allow staff to tender the project, and provide the time necessary to have the project completed by the anticipated timeline of late Summer 2022.” 

“The plan is to have the work started as early as possible in the new year,” he explained, looking to mid-January as a likely start date.

Noting that budget debates will soon be underway, Councillor Dwyer did not see the need for pre-budget approval. “I don’t feel comfortable giving pre-budget approval. I do look forward to debating this as part of the budget process.”

However, most of council supported this request. “I am ready to throw my support behind the pre-budget approval,” commented Peter McKenna, “This is not a new item, or a new project. This is the final phase of our town hall redevelopment. I’m ready to move forward.”

Mayor Pankow also supported the recommendation. “When it comes to priorities in the scope of our budget, this is right up there. There are so many insufficiencies we need to address. I can’t imagine us shelving this for another year.

“Pre-budget approval could allow us to get better prices, so I am prepared to move ahead.”

Councillor Brennan agreed. “We’ve got to sharpen our pencils on capital, that’s for sure. But not on this project: this needs to be done post-haste. We’ve had past councillors that had struggles getting up the stairs. The space that the staff works in is quite frankly embarrassing. Staff has done a good job of the process; coming up with a design we can be proud of. I support this; I support staff’s recommendation.”

Councillors Allen and Alford agreed. Councillor McGuire also had broader budget questions, but voted in favour of supporting this request.

The motion was carried with only one dissenting vote.

Article by Janelle Labelle

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News