Council approved spending an additional $98,000 to upgrade and replace the floors and paint the halls of municipal hall.
Staff said the extra funding was needed to address the fact the lone bid on the project came in far higher than expected, largely a result of the busy construction market. That problem, it was noted, has been made worse by a labour shortage exacerbated by a lack of affordable housing in the region.
At the same Feb. 5 meeting, council also approved a budget request for $54,000 to hire a planning technician and $20,000 to create a work space for the new employee. “This is a real tangible way that we can contribute to the speed at which building permits can be issued and new housing can be provided to [address] that significant demand at crisis levels,” said Coun. Tim Morrison.
And $350,000 was approved for the replacement and upgrade of refrigeration equipment at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, a system that with new technologies, will require less ammonia. Also related to recreation, the Esquimalt Recreation Centre will get new treadmills, as council gave early budget approval to a $57,840 upgrade to the existing fitness equipment.
New duplex on the docket
A development permit for a property at 832 Old Esquimalt Rd. was approved to allow the building of a duplex. The proponent provided a model of the building materials, which council praised for their longevity and cost efficiency in creating affordable housing in the Township.