Province gives $12 million for operations centre expansion
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 06:00 am
Long-standing plans to expand the Town of Okotoks’ operations centre may finally be able to go ahead thanks to a substantial provincial grant.
The Town of Okotoks has received a $12 million grant from the provincial government’s Municipal Sustainability Initiative to go towards the expansion project.
Okotoks mayor Bill Robertson said the operations centre is “badly” in need of upgrades.
The Town has run out of space in the existing operations centre for personnel and equipment. Due to lack of storage space, vehicles and equipment needs to be stored inside the shop area and operations personnel have to move equipment in and out of the building each day.
“It’s overstressed, we don’t have space for more town equipment,” said Robertson. “We’re forced to contract out open spaces, because we don’t have room to store lawn cutting equipment. We’re at the max as to what we can do at that site, so a new operations building I think will go a long ways for growth into the future.”
According to Robertson, the operations centre, located on North Railway Street on the east end of Okotoks, is a former industrial building that was converted for the current use. It houses several Town departments, including opens spaces, transportation, resource recovery and the wastewater treatment plant is also located on the property.
Robertson said he doesn’t know how much of the overall expansion the provincial funds will cover.
A 2011 report done by the Town envisioned a $12.8 million, multi-phase expansion that included new buildings for vehicle and equipment storage, administration, renovations to the existing building, as well as rehabilitation of landscape around the river banks, bike path improvements and a skating rink.
The expansion plan has since been condensed into two phases.
The first phase will see new administration and fleet storage buildings constructed, and services such as water and sewer lines installed on the property. The second phase will involve renovating and modernizing the existing operations building.
The Town has proposed proceeding with the first phase in 2014 and the work is largely expected to be completed in 2015. Once Town personnel have moved into the new administrative building, work will be able to begin on the second phase of construction.
Jamie Greenshields, Okotoks Operations Projects Co-ordinator, said they are revising the estimated construction costs to get a better idea of the price tag for the expansion.
“At this point we don't have any budgetary concerns, however, as we move forward into more detailed designs for the buildings, we'll be revising and updating our estimated construction costs accordingly which will give us a better idea and fine tuning of overall costs,” he said.