The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL) council voted March 12 to move ahead with a new $7.2-million municipal services building. The building will be located at Osprey Village in Cookville.
The current building, located at 210 Aberdeen Road in Bridgewater, does not meet National Building Code or Nova Scotia's Accessibility Act. Space, air quality and security issues are some of the primary deficiencies with the existing building, MODL said in a news release.
The 17, 200 sq. ft. building will replace the current 11,000 sq. ft. structure.
A report produced by Catalyst Consulting determined that it would be more expensive to renovate and expand the existing building to meet accessibility and code requirements than it would be to invest in a new building.
The option looking into renovating the existing building to deal with these issues put the cost at $8.3 million -$1.1 million more than constructing a new building on municipality-owned land at Osprey Village.
While MODL is looking at a capital cost of $7.2 million for a new build, staff are calculating the municipality may sell the existing building for about $500,000, resulting in a net cost of $6.7 million for a new build.
Council said it arrived at its decision after "extensive study and public engagement."
The design of the building was developed to use as many locally-sourced materials and tradespeople as possible, and to achieve an energy use that is 30 per cent less than National Building Code requirements.
The building is designed to keep as much light coming in on the South Side as possible, and make the most of the natural vegetation and nearby pond.
It's divided into two segments; an administration area and the more public council chamber and reception area.
The administration area could be cordoned off so that more public events could take place after hours. And there will be a feature wall to display public art.
There will also be a covered outdoor plaza area for ceremonial gatherings.
The washrooms will be gender-neutral.
In addition to being fully accessible, the design of the building will enable the municipality to offer improved service for the thousands of residents who use the building each year, according to MODL council.
"Municipal services have changed substantially in the 48 years since this building was constructed," Mayor Carolyn-Bolivar Getson, said in a statement.
"We believe that the construction of a modest building will be the most effective use of the money we have set aside for this project.
Previous and current councils have set funds aside for this project for many years, which means the municipality will not incur debt or raise taxes to build a new municipal services building. The municipality continues to be on track to be debt free by 2021."