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.

Just Posted

Weekend collisions keep West Shore RCMP busy

Officers responded to three separate incidents within the span of one hour

Get ready for the 39th annual Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon

Up to 9,000 particpants are anticipated for this year’s three-day race weekend

E&N Rail Trail open house this Wednesday

Construction on segment between Atkins Avenue and Savory Elementary to start this fall

Impaired driver crashes into Victoria police vehicle, injures officer

Cook Street collision occured in the early morning hours of Tuesday

School of magic teaches youth to be themselves

Organizers hope to run the camp next summer as well

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Vehicle catches fire near Vancouver Island provincial park

Fire shut down Highway 4 in both directions

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Most Read