Asbestos abatement at Scout Hall moving forward

·4 min read

Council is moving forward with the hazardous material abatement for the Scout Hall this year, which comes at a capital cost of $72,000.

A report on the financial impacts of decommissioning the hall in 2021 will come to council on May 4. Council can then make a decision based on budget impacts to decommission the hall in 2021 or wait until 2022.

In May 2016, Scouts Canada turned over their building at 180 Cheviot Drive to the Town, which sits on Town provided lands.

Administration completed a Structural Assessment, Electrical Assessment, Hazardous Materials Assessment, as well as quotes for the abatement of asbestos insulation from the block walls.

In 2020, a capital request for the abatement and the demolition of the building totalled $95,000. At the time, the infrastructure services director proposed this project be completed over two years with the hazardous materials abatement in 2021 and the demolition of the building in 2022.

“I’d rather find a way to accomplish this in one year. Whether its capital expenditure in 2021 or 2022. Ultimately the only thing it’s likely to do is either go up in price or at best it just sits there for another year,” Nelson said.

Leaving it for another year prevents any further projects in that area if Council decided they wanted to do that, he added. The longer a decommissioned building sits without being demolished the higher risk it poses to the community, Nelson continued.

Winston Rossouw, who was standing in as CAO, said that an increase in demolition costs could occur in 2022 depending on prices at the time.

The bulk of the cost is going to be the hazardous material abatement, while a lot of the decommissioning of the project can be done in house, thus keeping those costs down in 2022, explained Ewa Arsenault, maintenance services supervisor.

Administration could put out a Request For Quote within a month or two, leaving plenty of room to decommission and remove the hall within the current budget year, Arsenault said.

Coun. Albert Ostashek pointed out that there could be an opportunity for savings if the project is split into two years.

“My understanding is that asbestos abatement is a really specialized craft, It’s not typically something that a demolition company would necessarily have an asbestos abatement crew. By splitting them I think there is actually an opportunity for savings,” he said.

If lumped together as one project, a demolition crew may have to subcontract an abatement crew and increase the cost to the Town, he explained.

A new quote obtained in December 2020 for asbestos abatement, increased the cost by $22,000 more than the initial quote originally obtained when budgeting for this project.

The shortfall of funds to complete the abatement in 2021 will be covered by budgeted funds for managing asbestos in place at other Town sites.

Administration noted that the cost could still change as additional quotes are obtained.

Only one local contractor is qualified to perform this specialized work, with other potential contractor’s likely bidding from out-of-town.

Arsenault added that the Fire Department has also reached out with a request to use the building for practice after the asbestos abatement.

Before Council makes a decision on when the decommissioning takes place, they will see a report outlining the impacts on the current budget.

“I need to know how it’s going to affect the budget and what may fall off the table before I make a decision that yes, this absolutely has to move ahead in 2021,” said Ostashek.

There’s budget impacts in 2021 that haven’t been assessed yet and Ostashek noted that he wants to know if this project would fit within the current budget year without impacting anything too seriously.

Administration explored the option of retaining this asset and fielded several inquiries following the vacancy by Scouts Canada.

The buildings’ current state would require a significant financial injection of funds to renovate, estimated to be in the range of $100,000 to $175,000.

The renovations would ensure that the facility meets all the current building codes and existing Town standards.

The Town of Hinton still has several other similar amenities that can be utilized for community functions, which have not exceeded public demand for bookings, according to the Town’s report.

Similar facilities for rent throughout the community and county include the Legion, Good Companions Hall, Kin Hall, BRIDGES, Entrance and Brule Halls, and hotel banquet rooms.

Masha Scheele, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hinton Voice