Mayor’s Resident Update

June 20, 2020

RESIDENT UPDATE – June 19, 2020

We are very proud that Clarenville is one of this province’s growth centres. Our location, our people and our infrastructure combine to make this town attractive. As a Town Council, we are committed to supporting ongoing growth. Most recently there are three projects that the Council has invested time into planning and implementing: A brand new Fire Hall, an upgraded Town Hall and the replacement of the Shoal Harbour Causeway bridge. This report is meant to provide you with an update on the status of these projects.

NEW FIRE HALL
We are very excited to see the new Fire Hall nearing completion. This modern, 15,500 sq.ft facility will become operational during this coming summer. This $2.5m facility is essential to the continued growth of our town. The current Clarenville Volunteer Fire Department has built a provincial reputation for being one of the best trained, best equipped Fire Departments in the province. New equipment, such as a ladder truck and expanded roles as first responders has seen the department outgrow its current facility. The new space is larger, more centrally located and has enhanced training capacity. It will serve Clarenville and the surrounding area well into the coming decades.

CONSTRUCTION AND COST OF AN UPGRADED TOWN HALL
As the Clarenville Volunteer fire department moves into its new facility, the space it leaves behind will allow the Town Hall to expand and upgrade its space in its familiar Town-centre location. That space has seen a lot of growth in Clarenville over the past 50 years but it has reached the end of its design life. Council has decided to renovate the space with a modern design to create a larger, safer, and more energy efficient public building for residents and staff.

Council and Town staff have recognized the issues with the current Fire Hall and the Town Hall for some time. Previous efforts to move ahead were blocked by cost. This current two-site approach that we are now taking will serve to address the many problems and do it for about half the cost of all of the other alternatives that we have evaluated.

On June 15th, 2020 a tender to complete renovations of the Town Hall yielded 11 bids. The successful low bid was Emmanuel Construction at a cost of $2,322,484.14 +hst. Given the scope of the renovations required this is a very good price. During the renovations to the Town Hall, Council & Staff will relocate to the Bill Davis Chalet given it has been shut-down due to Covid-19. The Chalet will serve as a temporary Town Hall for residents and it will save Council funds by not having to rent temporary office space.

For less than $5 million the Town has secured two new facilities that will serve the Town of Clarenville for the next 50 years or more. This was done at a cost well below the cost estimates of building a new Town Hall presented almost a decade ago. Both projects will provide a boost to the local economy during a time when businesses and trades workers need it the most.

Council has decided to fund these two projects without Government funding assistance in order to ensure existing and future capital works funding programs can continue to be invested in infrastructure improvements such as clean drinking water, road upgrades, sewer upgrades and so on. No street upgrade projects will be jeopardized by the completion of these two building infrastructure projects.

REPLACEMENT OF THE SHOAL HARBOUR CAUSEWAY BRIDGE
The Shoal Harbour causeway bridge needs replacement. Council is continuing to work with the Provincial and Federal Governments to secure a cost shared funding agreement for the replacement. The issues with this project are complex and they do involve some legal matters. We have recently met with the Government to seek resolution to these issues with hopes of moving this project forward. Despite our ongoing efforts, we have not been able to reach an equitable cost sharing arrangement that would be fair to the citizens of Clarenville.

To bring you to where we are now, the Town contracted engineers to evaluate the need, design and cost of the project. Their report found that due to the location of the bridge in a tidal zone, the bird sanctuary, and the scheduled salmon river and given the complex piled sub-structure required due to the depth of silt to bedrock, this project will be complex and expensive. The report concluded the bridge replacement will cost in the range of $3.5 to 4 million.

Unfortunately, because of the cost and the potential for cost overruns, Council will not undertake the replacement of a regional bridge without significant government financial assistance. It continues to be our contention that this bridge serves an entire region and as such the tax payers of Clarenville should not be made to support a disproportionate share of the cost. We are committed to finding an equitable solution as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (709) 466-7937 or email: frazer@clarenville.net

Kindest Regards,

Mayor Russell

Last modified: June 20, 2020

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