Deeper dive into Rideau Lakes Township offices’ retrofit plan deferred to May 27

RL Chantry Offices
The municipal offices of Rideau Lakes in Chantry is under the microscope as plans for retrofitting the building have been presented to council. Photo credit: Laurie Weir.
Posted on: May 13, 2024

Would another location for a new building make more sense?


The state Township of Rideau Lakes’ municipal offices in Chantry was under the microscope by the senior management team. 

During a regular committee meeting on Monday, May 13, chief administrative officer Shellee Fournier tabled the report and initial findings of potential retrofit costs for the building, with some rough drafts presented. 

Some areas of repairs and replacement would include the roof, windows (where there is asbestos in the caulking) and if the building it to be brought up to accessibly standings, it would need to be gutted, Fournier explained. 

The building was erected in 1979 and is now 45 years old. It doesn’t meet accessibility with its narrow hallways and small washrooms. If a new well is drilled to accommodate an addition to the structure, plumbing would need to be rerouted. 

As to where the staff would go during the renovations, or where meeting would be held, these were questions put to the council. 

If an expansion is built on the 2.6 acre site that is over 6,458 square feet, (currently 6,156 square feet), that would require a reservoir, but Fournier said not to get too caught up on that at this stage. An underground holding tank would need to be created to have water for fire emergencies, and these reservoirs could cost up to $100,000. A dry hydrant nearby may be sufficient, she said. 

Repairs to the existing building over the next five years is estimated at just over $637,000, with a well relocation costing about $20,000. The addition of 1,000 square feet is estimated at $450,000 with a 10 per cent contingency for a grand total of $1.142 million. 

A new addition would create a space for 25 offices, with council chambers, a conference room, break room, and “Shellee’s walking track,” she quipped. 

These figures did not cover the cost of the renovation, or how much it would cost to temporarily relocate staff to do business. More information on the staff report can be found online

Fournier noted that next steps would be commissioning a survey which would take about three months, then getting an architect to create concept designs.

“Or we could explore the pros and cons of other locations (Portland, Elgin) and other uses for the existing building/site,” Fournier said. 

Mayor Arie Hoogenboom said, “I’m not necessarily against building a new building next door,” but his concern was about relocating staff in the short term.

The mayor said staff has already got a full plate trying to get the fire station and the hall/library built. “I think the timing is not that critical that we can’t wait another year to get some of this done,” he said. “I would like to at least look at whether another location would make more sense.”

Coun. Paula Banks said if they don’t look at this now, the offices won’t be fixed this term. “We don’t want to be looking at this in 2026. It needs to be done in 2025, so I’m hoping people can support my motion (to move to an RFP process.)”

Coun. Ron Pollard said it looked good on paper, “but we need to give it a little more time to think this out,” as he mentioned looking for a more central location for the offices. 

Coun. Jeff Banks said they need to find out first if the building in Chantry is “salvageable” and what will be the cost to renovate it. He suggested moving forward with the next phase. 

Hoogenboom suggested a motion that the municipal offices require improvement, and that staff suggest retrofitting the existing building is not cost effective. Now, therefore be it resolved that the staff be directed to explore the pros and cons of locating a new facility on the existing property in Chantry, or an alternate location in Elgin or Portland. 

“I’m not saying I will not support a new building here,” he said. “I will not support a stripped renovation of this building because I don’t think that’s doable … I like the concept of another building, but if we are going to build a separate building, let’s be on the same page in terms of, what’s the best spot for that?”

The mayor said if they spend $3M or $4M, maybe there’s a better location for the municipal offices than retrofitting the current building.

Coun. Paula Banks suggested deferring the issue and not having staff spend any more time with this, “as we’ve lost three council members. I think the majority of council made it very clear that we’d like to see what’s possible retrofitting this building. I think we should defer it and put both motions back on the floor when we discuss it on the 27th.”

As the meeting was running long, two councillors had to leave (Deputy Mayor Linda Carr and Coun. Deborah Anne Hutchings) for other commitments, and one was absent with prior notice, (Coun. Sue Dunfield), it was decided by the remaining councillors to defer further discussion on this topic to the May 27 committee meeting.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News

One thought on “Deeper dive into Rideau Lakes Township offices’ retrofit plan deferred to May 27

  1. Lisa Klein-Gunnewiek

    Funny how they always defer if some of the fav five are away but not if the other 4 are away.

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