Proposed Nanaimo operations centre pegged at $125 million

Proposed Nanaimo operations centre pegged at $125 million
WatchThe City of Nanaimo is proposing to build a brand new operations centre for a cost of $125 million.

Staff at the City of Nanaimo laid out its business case Wednesday for what it’s calling the Nanaimo Operations Centre.

It would replace its current public works buildings and also amalgamate its parks and recreation operations.

The cost is pegged at $125 million.

The City of Nanaimo’s current public works building was built back in the 1960s when the city’s population was less than 50,000.

Now, the number of employees working out of the complex far exceeds its size. More worrying, the city says the buildings would collapse in a large earthquake — something that is problematic when the public works department would be vital for fixing broken infrastructure.

“This place needs to be resilient. It has to be in a position where we don’t have buildings falling down. We don’t have gas pumps falling over. We don’t have areas where people can’t do their jobs efficiently and professionally,” said John Elliot, City of Nanaimo’s Director of Public Works.

There are numerous other issues too. Maintaining the current buildings is costly, the service bays aren’t large enough to contain some city vehicles when being worked on and the buildings are not accessible for all employees.

Not to mention they’re not ready for the electrification of the city’s fleet.

“We’re at that point now. We need to do a refresh so we can be there for the community in a disaster,” said Elliot.

The city released these renderings today and the cost, prepared by an independent consultant as part of a 600-page report. It estimates the project will cost $125 million dollars — a figure that includes a 30 per cent contingency related to potential delays or changes in construction costs.

“It’s built to be functional, utilitarian and long-lasting. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles,” said Elliot.

The project, if realized, would cost more than Victoria’s controversial Johnson Street bridge project, which ended up coming in at more than $105 million and was finished in 2018.

However, Nanaimo’s mayor says today is just a step in the process but a new facility is needed.

“I think it’s important that it go forward. The question is exactly when and how and how much are voters prepared to support it. It is, however, a genuine capacity safety issue. This is the basics of civic government,” said Leonard Krog.

Krog says the city’s current debt load is relatively low but it will seek funding from the B.C. and federal governments

[email protected]

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!