Costs loom as Saanich considers future of public works yard

Costs loom as Saanich considers future of public works yard

Current conditions of the facility pose a risk to service delivery, according to a draft report

The eventual fate of Saanich’s parks and public works yard dominated as council received a draft report into the state of major municipal facilities.

The report places the McKenzie Avenue facility at the very top of the priority list in stating that the facility “warrants replacement.”

Current conditions of the facility pose a risk to service delivery, the report reads. Identified “ inadequate safety and operational deficiencies” include among others the absence of fire-suppressing sprinklers and buildings that meet current building and seismic codes.

Warning against a culture of complacency, the report predicts serious consequences, should the status quo prevail. “For example, a fire at the Public Works building would be catastrophic,” it reads.

But if the report is clear about the concerns that currently surround that this critical piece of municipal infrastructure, it does not prescribe any specific replacement measures for the facility. Nor does it spell out any future costs, likely to be significant though.

Harley Machielse, Saanich’s director of engineering, said specific planning will not begin until after Saanich council has endorsed the draft plan following public input now underway.

“Should it [the plan] be adopted in the New Year, and the public works yard is our number one priority, further discussions will happen on that yard,” he said.

One key question is whether the facility should remain at its current location against the availability of suitable alternatives, and future uses for the existing location, should the facility move.

“This particular land is very, very, very expensive, and it could be developed for high density…if there is any value for it,” said Saanich resident Haji Charania in raising this question.

Machielse said that is one of several questions staff will have to consider.

“Certainly moving it [the public works yard] to another location presents some challenges, given the size of the facility, the strategic location of it, and the services delivered out of it,” he said.

Coun. Colin Plant said he would like see more information about costs as the process moves forward, because costs are likely going to be significant. He also expressed concern about the environmental state of the facility. According to the report, staff have been working at and out of the site for almost 60 years. “I’m scared and terrified [about] what is under the ground,” said Plant. “The amount of remediation that is going to be required there is going to be problematic.”

Plant’s colleagues echoed these comments. Coun. Vicki Sanders said the area on which the facility currently stands used to be a peat bog. “It’s going to be a big project for future councils to deal with,” she said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greg Chow is the 2021 Local Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fighting fire a family affair for Colwood Assistant Chief Greg Chow

With 38 years of service, Greg Chow is the 2021 Hero of the Year

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

Sooke Road was down to single lane alternating traffic after a motor vehicle incident Wednesday morning. (Google Maps)
UPDATED: Sooke Road reopen after motor vehicle incident

Emergency crews were on scene of Wednesday morning incident

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Most Read