Chatham-Kent council rejects $18.1M Civic Centre renovations

Chatham-Kent councillors used a portion of Monday evening's council meeting to vote against approximately $18.1 million worth of renovations to the municipality's Civic Centre.

Put forth by Chatham-Kent's infrastructure and engineering services department, the renovations would have replaced the building's HVAC system, in addition to moving council chambers to the first floor as a means of improving the building's accessibility features. 

Councillors rejected the motion in an 11-7 vote. 

'It wasn't really necessary'

Chatham-Kent Ward 6 Coun. Michael Bondy — one of the voices opposed to the renovations — said one of the factors that led to council's decision had to do with the fact that "it wasn't really necessary."

"Administration had informed council that the HVAC system … has been failing for some time, so their proposal was to basically retrofit the entire Civic Centre, top to bottom, floors, windows, ceilings in this renovation," he said. 

Rather than renovating the entire Civic Centre, councillors instead moved to find out how much it would cost the replace the HVAC system on its own. 

Councillor disappointed

Ward 4 Coun. Joe Faas — one of the seven voices that supported the overall renovations — said he was disappointed in council's decision to not move forward.

He explained that council was presented approximately three years ago with the option to implement similar upgrades. At the time, however, costs were lower, estimated at approximately $13 million.

"We leave it another three years, what's that figure going to be?" said Faas.

"You can't just automatically take an old building and just piecemeal the repairs without being a little more concerned with the energy efficiencies that could be in that building by making major changes."