A report delivered to Town council at the May 5 Regular Council Meeting shows that the upgrades to the Ladysmith Machine Shop will cost more than originally projected.
“Due to unforeseen factors, achieving a scenario where structural upgrades are complete and tenants can reoccupy the building is expected to exceed funds received from the Gas Tax grant,” the report states.
In January 2018, the Town received $1,752,553 in funding from the Provincial Gas Tax to restore the machine shop. In January 2020, roof repairs had been completed on the Machine Shop, and foundation and structural work was underway. A report delivered to council at the January 7 Regular Council Meeting indicated that construction had encountered unexpected challenges in the foundation work.
Some of the Machine Shop’s heritage elements need to be removed to complete necessary restoration work. The report suggests adding the heritage features at a later date when funds become available is a possibility. The most notable elements removed from the Machine Shop include the large doors on the north and south ends of the building, and the exterior beams on the west side of the building.
Council was presented with four potential scenarios for completion of the project, each with approximate costs. The first option is boarding up the Machine Shop, and leaving it closed to the public. The second option would leave the Machine Shop ‘barely habitable’, and would cost an estimated $250,00. Neither of these options were deemed acceptable by council.
The third option that make the Machine Shop habitable will take an estimated $450,000. For the project to be habitable with non-structural improvements – which include an improved heating system, and restoration of the removed heritage elements – the costs could exceed $1 million.
Once foundation work is complete, Town staff expect to bring forward a revised project scope and a funding request to realize the ‘habitable’ scenario.
“This scenario is expected to keep additional required funding to a reasonable amount while also ensuring a reasonably well finished space for the tenants,” the report states.
Town Council did not commit to any funding decisions at the May 5 Regular Meeting of Council, as the report was meant to update council on the project, and not ask for any decisions.
“The reason staff is not asking for a decision on which option right now is because we need to refine those a bit more,” Mayor Aaron Stone said. “Level three is the preferred approach so far, and staff will be able to give us more concrete information that we can discuss in the future.”