Chambers renovation cost too rich for council

Staff puts forward proposal for a $487,450 renovation to Saanich council chambers

What started as a desire to introduce live webcasting of Saanich council sessions led to a staff proposal for a $487,450 renovation to remodel chambers.

Council rejected the recommendation and asked for a new proposal with better detail and pricing options.

“It’s a very well done proposal and staff did a great job, but I think at this time it’s too expensive for what we want,” said Mayor Richard Attwell.

“What stood out for me is the [$48,000] for the raised council platform and [$64,843] for the council and staff desks,” Attwell added. “Esquimalt renovated its chambers for a total of $136,000. I think $136,000 sets a good target for council.”

This fall council used an interim layout that seated mayor and council in a horseshoe on a raised platform, but returned to the traditional layout with Atwell in a throne position above all, and staff with their backs to mayor and part of council.

Early in 2015 council approved $150,000 to implement live webcasting.  The $487,450 breaks down to $166,973 for live webcasting and supporting technology, which includes a new lighting system to enhance the photographic quality for the four cameras; $157,300 for the raised platform, desks, chairs and wheelchair accessible podium; $66,199 for video meeting management systems (new televisions); and $44,311 for documentation and training, detailed design and tender preparation and contract administration.

Coun. Vic Derman had pushed for live webcasting in a previous term only to be denied.

“I don’t think it’s a limitation of the new heritage designation put on the chambers, I think we need to seek other options,” Atwell said. “For me that price is bordering on ridiculous, I don’t believe another council has borne a cost of $112,000 for a raised platform and desk.”

 

reporter@saanichnews.com