No expensive washrooms for
old Westario Power building
By Liz Dadson
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Kincardine council has voted down a proposal to spend three times as much as budgeted for new washrooms in the old Westario Power building at 385 Queen Street.
In committee-of-the-whole Wednesday night (May 14), chief building official Michele Barr said the original upgrade was to replace the two urinals, two toilets and one sink in the existing unisex washroom, with some painting and new flooring, at a cost of $10,000.
However, in order to accommodate the range of people that use the space, Barr recommended the construction of two individual unisex washrooms - one being barrier-free and accessible.
The renovation would include merging the existing washroom and the janitor's room to create two individual washrooms and a janitor's room. The cost would be $30,000, requiring an additional $20,000. This money would come from the municipal buildings reserve fund which currently has $45,483 available.
Mayor Larry Kraemer said the accessible washroom is currently in the west side of the building where the Lake Huron Learning Centre is housed. There is a women's washroom in the front of the building, and the other washroom (being discussed at the meeting) is in the east side where the bays are.
That area of the building is used by the Kinetic Knights robotics teams, the learning centre for overflow classrooms, and an office for a local counsellor. The municipality's emergency management operations centre is located in the basement.
"Is there a long-term plan for that building?" asked councillor Mike Leggett. "I have a problem spending money on washrooms that might not be used by anybody. Stick with what was budgeted."
Councillor Maureen Couture said the lease with the learning centre expires Dec. 31, 2014, and she is unsure about the lease agreements with other groups that are using that building, including vpi and Contact North.
"I expect we'll renew the lease with the Lake Huron Learning Collaborative (which operates distance learning courses in the learning centre)," said Kraemer.
"I think we should wait until after the lease expires before we decide to spend another $20,000 on washrooms there," said deputy mayor Anne Eadie.
"Fixing that washroom will add value to the building," said Kraemer. "It's the only washroom in the common area of the building."
"The building looks pretty good," said Couture. "We should fix up the washrooms."
Councillor Guy Anderson asked if there is any point in proceeding with the original project. "Would that money be lost if we decided later to spend another $20,000 and create two washrooms?"
Barr said the $10,000 project is just for the new fixtures, some plumbing, painting and flooring.
The motion to approve a budget increase of $20,000 for two washrooms, was defeated. So, the original $10,000 upgrade will proceed.
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Thursday, May 15, 2014