Three Rivers invests $2.4 million toward replacing scorched town hall

·2 min read

THREE RIVERS – Town councillors went about half a million dollars over budget to approve its new administration building – but it's for the best, said the mayor of Three Rivers.

"It's a big project, and the cost of materials has gone up in the last year," Edward MacAulay said in an interview with The Guardian. "It's well worth it for us."

A construction tender for the building was approved during a recent Three Rivers council meeting. Two tenders had been received with council awarding the project to Williams Murphy & McLeod (WMM) at a cost of about $2.4 million. Construction is anticipated to begin this year.

"This time next year we should be in the building, or pretty close to it," the mayor said.

About $1.9 million had been budgeted toward the project, but material costs, such as lumber, have been on the rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Three Rivers may have to take out a mortgage to cover the difference, MacAulay said.

"It won't be any more than what we're (currently) paying for rentals."

Following the destruction of Montague's old town hall due to a fire in 2018 – the same year seven Kings County municipal units amalgamated to form Three Rivers – the new municipality's staff have been working out of rented space in Montague.

The new administration building will be built on Queens Road in Montague and primarily be for staff. There will also be space for council meetings, but the building won't necessarily be the official town hall for all Three Rivers.

The planning committee had considered making some cuts to the building's design to save money, but they'd have made a big difference to the building's quality and a small difference to its cost. The building was also designed with renewable energy in mind, MacAulay said.

Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian