By Nancy Kelly
A budgeted amount of $95,000 to pave the parking lot at Berwick’s town hall is being put on hold.
Town staff are taking time to weigh the cost and benefits of maintaining the aging property versus investing in a new building.
“Staff is hesitant to spend money on this facility unless there is a commitment (by council) to staying here long term,” explained finance director Greg Towne at council’s Aug. 13 meeting.
Towne said he anticipates the town hall will need the roof replaced, a new gym floor, new windows and upgrades to the heating and ventilation system in the future.
“We should explore whether it’s costing us more to service the existing town hall or if it would be more cost effective to go new,” he added.
Towne characterized the current facility, a former school renovated in the 1990s, as “generally good.
“Right now it does the job and works for what we need.”
The decision to look at town hall options has been generated in part by a request from members of the Kings Mutual Century Centre (KMCC) board of directors who would like the town hall to relocate to their facility.
“We have had overtures from the KMCC. They want more people up there to share the costs of the facility,” confirmed chief administrative officer Don Regan.
Deputy Mayor Jane Bustin expressed concern that abandoning the current town hall could mean the loss of the gym, which is used by the community for a variety of purposes throughout the day.
“I wouldn’t want to see that.”
Council chose to delay parking lot paving until 2014 and to defer discussion on a possible new town hall until KMCC’s phase two feasibility study, including a learning centre and fitness facility, is completed in the coming months.
“That will give us some time to see where phase two is going,” said Mayor Don Clarke.