The city’s Top Shop is not in top form but that will soon be remedied.
Built in the early ’80s, the city’s public works building, aka the Top Shop, is going to be renovated.
Phase 1 of the planned renovation is expected to cost about $960,000, but will provide features made necessary by the pandemic, such as space for the peak number of 50 to 55 staff who work there in the summer.
Just two companies bid on the job, thought to be a reflection of busy the construction industry is. It was awarded to McDiarmid Construction, the low bidder and a company which staff said has done numerous successful projects for the city.
The upgrade will include removal of hazardous materials, a first aid room, upgraded washrooms, inventory and file storage, a shower station, janitorial storage, a locker and lunch room and exterior improvements such as windows and siding.
Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, told city council on Jan. 10, 2022 that the building at 100 30th St. SE accommodates several different public works areas such as roads, water and sewer, and equipment.
Only minor interior upgrades and alterations have been done since it was built, he said. In 2015 and 2016 improvements were required for safety, and washroom upgrades were needed.
“You’ve all been up there and seen the building – it’s quite old,” Niewenhuizen told council.
With COVID-19 came the realization that more space was needed.
The tenders came in about $200,000 over budget, so the shortfall will come from four different public works reserves.
Coun. Kevin Flynn said he knows the upgrades are long overdue and he is fully in support.
He also made reference to previous discussions about moving the public works building.
“I’m looking at the old strategic plan, and it doesn’t have anything in here about relocation of public works. But I’ve been around here long enough to know we’ve talked about it a lot, but I’m guessing that’s not happening anytime soon if it’s not in the long-range plan. So I support this expenditure and don’t see us moving this Top Shop for some time.”
Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond said the Top Shop is a key building and she supports the improvements.
“We need to keep our employees safe – a lot of these are safety upgrades but there’s also a great amount of equipment and important work that’s done in that building so I’ve very glad to see it move forward…”
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