City council votes for special committee to oversee City Hall restoration

City councillors on Monday afternoon accepted the recommendation for the establishment of a special committee to supervise the restoration of City Hall.

The recommendation, derived from an Extra-Ordinary Statutory Meeting that was held on July 12th, was presented at the council’s statutory meeting on Monday.

Mayor Patricia Chase-Green said that the committee will be headed by a councillor, as required by law, and would consist of members who are experts in the fields of engineering and construction.

During the meeting, she asked Town Clerk Royston King to schedule another special meeting where councillors can develop guidelines and terms of reference for the committee’s operations.

In addition, councillors accepted a recommendation for a broad-based consultation and the mayor said the earlier the committee is established, the sooner consultations with stakeholders could begin as the council seeks to generate much-needed revenue to execute the restoration. “The longer we take to develop a plan of action, the higher the price would be to do works on building… we need to act fast and find the money,” Chase-Green said.

A Comprehensive Restoration and Sustainable Conservation Management Plan was prepared by Euronet Consulting.

The consultants, Ed Morton and Francis Maude, have estimated that US$4.3 million will be needed to execute the works.

It was noted that 90 percent of the materials which were used to construct City Hall over 100 years ago can be reused during the restoration. Both Morton and Maude had pointed out that water damage was one of the major factors for the current state of the building and its continuous decay.

City Engineer Colvern Venture has advised that the council operate in the building until the end of the year. Venture noted that while the building can be used within the next five months, steady assessments of its deterioration need to be conducted.

“I would say we could operate until the end of this year but we will have to continue to monitor the deterioration on the third floor. We have further deterioration on the roof of this building and as such we will have to do an inspection… this floor and the ground [floor] can be occupied but there will be discomfort because of the leakages,” he said.

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