Time has come to expore possibility of new Deer Lake municipal building: Freake
A Deer Lake councillor wants to see an ad hoc committee formed to explore the possibility of a new municipal building.
The concept of a new building has been talked about for the last few years, but Coun. Amanda Freake said during last week’s public council meeting that it’s time to start getting more serious about replacing the current facility, which has been in place since the early 1970s.
Freake isn’t sure what a new building would look like, when construction could begin, or if there is funding to avail of, but said those are things a committee could explore.
Freake said she would like to see more community involvement and this project could be a good place to start. She would like to see volunteers become involved with the new committee.
“We’d like for people to feel a sense of ownership,” said Freake. “I want to see this committee made up of residents if possible, as well as staff and councillors.
“An ad hoc committee could put its heart and soul into finding out all the details on what is the best move,” she added. “Whether we do a (renovation) or a build a new building ... if we’re growing, we have to figure out what is needed.”
Deer Lake Mayor Dean Ball said he would keep at arm’s length from the committee because, as mayor, he does not want to influence the issue in any way.
Ball did say, however, the current building has definitely seen better days.
“We’re putting work spaces in where they aren’t supposed to be, it’s crowded, we will eventually have to do something,” he said. “The building probably is beyond renovation and it probably would be cheaper to build a new (facility).
“We’re growing, we’re expanding — it’s a good position to be in. Whatever they decide to do, we can look at it and go from there.”
The building shares space with the Deer Lake Volunteer Fire Department. Chief John Dinney has stated several times in the past that his department has expanded to the point where a new building is going to be a necessity. Dinney said with the department offering assistance to other fire departments like Reidville and Cormack, along with responding to incidents on the Trans-Canada Highway and the addition of new equipment and vehicles over the last five years, the current building does not meet space requirements.
Meanwhile, Freake said the project could have lasting impacts on the community.
“How often do we get to do this? We have an opportunity here to build a new municipal building and that only comes around once in a lifetime,” she said. “I’d love for us to do something to leave a legacy.”