The Town of Bridgewater is proceeding with a parking study focused on the downtown core in fiscal year 2021-22, with an assessment of the north parkade expected to be a main objective.
The town's engineering department recommended town council undertake the study to seriously consider what it wants to do with the parkade, which stretches along the eastern side of King Street, between the intersections of Old Bridge Street and Dominion Street.
A written report authored by Engineering Services Manager Matthew Davidson, and presented to the town council at its meeting on January 25, warned that annual costs to maintain the surfacing and deteriorating concrete will continue to rise, even as it achieves basic goals of asset protection and meeting the needs of the user.
The report comes after civic politicians last year declined to vote for procurements for deck repairs, restoration and a protective membrane coating because of warranty concerns and tender bids coming in more than $260,000 over budget.
Bridgewater had budgeted close to $200,000 for the work, and the lowest bid came in at over $400,000.
Davidson's latest report outlined a number of funding scenarios. Costs estimates included $10,000 a year for "minor maintenance," and about $30,000 every five years for more extensive repairs and painting. The amount to replace the entire deck is pegged at $1.2 million in 2030.
In response to a question from one councillor, Davidson said it would cost around $300,000 to demolish the structure.
"While this phased capital investment program may be more financially feasible, it is still a large investment," Davidson noted in the report. "Therefore, it is staff's opinion that prior to completing any significant repairs ... it should be determined if the parkade is integral to the future success of the downtown."
Civic politicians were unwilling to commit to multi-year spending on parkade improvements and passed a motion to direct staff to go ahead with the recommended initial parking study.
Bridgewater used to have a south parkade in the same neighbourhood, but it was dispensed with in 2015 to make way for a downtown revitalization project, which included a new municipal waterfront park. The parkades were built in the late 1960s. Each had the capacity for more than six dozen parking spots.
Town officials have confirmed the parkade is safe for use.