December 14th, 2019

City hall plaza work drags on

By GILLIAN SLADE on September 11, 2019.

Work on the plaza at city hall is going to extend throughout the fall and will cost considerably more than first expected.

The city says work on the plaza at city hall is going to take much longer than expected and cost considerably more.

Additional work has been identified as necessary and the original contract for the work, about $800,000, will now cost $1.8 million, said Mike Hirsch, facilities project co-ordinator.

The plaza upgrades that started at the beginning of May and were expected to be complete by the end of August will now likely extend to the start of winter.

“A major project to upgrade the parkade roof membrane at city hall will extend into the fall to ensure successful completion before winter,” said Hirsch.

Plans initially were to replace the membrane to give appropriate waterproofing and drainage around the clock tower area. This also happens to be the roof for the underground parking garage that can be entered from River Road.

“As can happen with any renovation, there have been some unexpected surprises related to drainage, underground pipes, and even delivery of special drains and materials to complete the project successfully,” said Hirsch.

The drains had to be re-sized and re-ordered to fit with the existing slab, which took added time, said Hirsch. There was also the aspect of modernizing and deciding on the location of additional concrete stairs being built into the existing planter. It all required making sure it remained structurally sound and proper drainage was being achieved.

In addition, upgraded red brick and block work was needed, said Hirsch.

This is not only due to the efflorescence deposit of salts, white marks, that can form when water is present in or on bricks.

“More to do with the remaining tile and the glue material on the brick from previous water fountain. It was directly placed onto the red brick, which is now required to be replaced to allow for … new work to be done,” said Hirsch.

Hirsch has previously spoken about the decision to have part of the work carried out in 2013 and the rest in 2019 and whether this ended up costing more in the long run.

“We were maximized for budget dollars for that project,” said Hirsch. “It would have made sense to do it but we were maximized for the amount of work.”

The newly constructed city hall was opened 26 years ago, and in the past six years some repairs have been necessary for the plaza area and the roof.

In 2013, close to $1 million was spent on replacing the plaza membrane, subsoil layers, plaza stairs, ramp, railing and concrete surfaces such as the exposed slab and existing sidewalk. Only part of the membrane was replaced at that time and did not include the clock tower. After completion of the work it was clear that it had not solved the leak through into the parkade below.

In 2014, nearly $1 million was required for repairs to the roof at city hall.

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