By Chad Ingram
Published Oct. 26 2017
More than a year after its initial completion target date an expansion of the Algonquin Highlands township office on North Shore Road is complete.
For the first time in nearly a year and a half council met in council chambers located in the office building for its Oct. 19 meeting.
Since the spring of 2016 meetings have been held at the nearby Stanhope Firefighters’ Community Hall as displaced staff used council chambers as work space.
Council awarded the contract for project – which included a 124-square metre addition and renovations to the building – to Woodbridge’s Miram Building Corp. in April of 2016 for a price of $580000.
However in the fall of 2016 the contractor defaulted on the job.
“The original contractor last year advised they were unable to finish it the work” Mayor Carol Moffatt wrote in an email to the paper. “Municipal projects of this size are always handled through a bonding company in case anything goes awry such as the contractor being unable to complete the job. So the bonding company had to go through a formal process of assessing the work completed/not completed write and issue a new tender and so on. The new company had to pick up on the partially-completed work of the original contractor and there were a number of challenges – and subsequent delays with that. It’s always tough to pick up where someone else left off.”
Moffatt indicated that despite the delays the project did not go over budget.
“There were a lot of frayed nerves and frustration but thankfully no over-runs or additional costs borne by the township” she wrote.
She thanked township staff members for their patience throughout the process.
“To say it’s been a frustrating experience would be an understatement” Moffatt wrote. “Staff members were displaced for months on end with up to four people working in various corners of the council chambers in a cobbled-together workspace. Once staff were back into their usual or new workspaces the public had to come in the back door and wind their way through the Council chambers to the front counter. We have terrific staff though and they soldiered through and made the best of it so I have to say an enormous thanks to them.”
Along with the addition renovations to the building include reconfigured accessible washrooms; a reconfigured foyer and office space; a new timber-frame front entranceway; and ramp.
The township is planning to have a public open house for resident to view the updated facility but a date has not yet been set.