Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Council members, Public gain additional overview of city's Public Works Department's plans for MacCarthy GM facility

Mayor Lee Brain an Operations Director Richard Pucci outside
what will soon be the city's new Public Works facility 
(photo from City of PR)

How the decision was reached to take on a lease, with potential purchase for the MacCarthy GM structure on Portage Road made for some review on Monday evening  

With Councillor Cunningham making note of what he called a little buzz around town about it and seemingly some interruption to his community shopping experiences.

Towards the city's plan for its public works department, he  called on the Operations Director Richard Pucci to take Council through the elements considered for the lease announced earlier this month.

As we outlined on March 16th, the plan to make use of the city's Legacy Inc financial mechanism was included as part of the March 13th Budget presentation, an announcement followed by more civic information towards the plan on March 24th.

At the tail end of Monday's Council session, Mr Pucci provided a thumbnail sketch of the conditions for the Wantage Road facility and how the opportunity that the currently vacant MacCarthy building offered to the city was one they wanted to jump on.

"So we've ... a couple of years back, we realized that our public works facility was in some pretty big dire straits, we looked at a new building and you know at the time it was in the order of five plus million dollars, plus we needed to find land in order to build it.

And the timelines associated with building it, this opportunity came forward so we spoke to the owners and so we thought it would be a good opportunity for us to jump on. 

There was a significant renovation in the last few years and the square footage would allow us for our whole complement to be all in one place and also have the yard as we call it,  for larger fleet vehicles and excavators and material storage associated with Public Works, but still have the complement of employees at this site."

Mr. Pucci also spoke towards the current costing of 750,000 dollars and the significant upgrades required as part of a larger budget item directed to the facility.

"At this point right now we are leasing it for five years, we do have the exclusive option to purchase at the end of that five years if we see fit. We are looking at doing some significant upgrades, the number that is in the budget is 750,000 dollars.

We put that as a larger budget item, though we don't think it will be that much, but we've seen with COVID some significant creep associated with costs and numbers, so we anticipate that may happen. 

So we put a larger budget, if we don't need the money, we will definitely not be using the money"
When it comes to charting the path ahead should the city wish to purchase the building, the Operations Director provided a snapshot as to how they may proceed five years down the road.

"Associated with the purchase after, there will be appraisals completed at that time and an active negotiation talking about the money that we've put in, versus the cost and that. 

So that will be a negotiation that happens at the time of purchase if we choose to move that way with it at that time"

You can review the Operations Directors commentary from the City's Video Archive starting at the fifty three minute mark.

More notes on Monday's Council Session can be explored through our Council Timeline Feature.

A look at the past items of interest from the Operations Department is available here.

A review of past Council Discussion themes can be reviewed from our Council Discussion archive.

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