Deer Lake council exploring new municipal building

Paul
Paul Hutchings
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Deer Lake council will release a tender in the next few days to explore the options of a new municipal building. The current facility has been in place since 1972 and also houses the fire department, an executive of which says needs more space than the 41-year-old building can provide.

DEER LAKE Council is preparing a tender for a new town office building to be released within a week.

Over the last three years several Town of Deer Lake employees have stated that the town has outgrown the current facility, which houses the municipal office and council chambers, the Deer Lake Fire Department, and the Deer Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Coun. Kerry Jones said while he made the motion during Monday’s public council meeting, nothing is definite yet and issuing a tender is simply a way of exploring options.

“We need to make sure that this is viable and that we can really afford it,” he said. “We also have to be sure this is something we really need.”

Councilors Amanda Freake and Jean Young both urged caution going forward, with Freake asking for a cost-benefit analysis and Young stating she isn’t sure she is comfortable with the action.

“I don’t feel as though we have done enough analysis as to whether or not we need to do this,” said Young. “It would be nice to have a new town office, yes, but I feel we need to explore other options.”

The day after the town meeting, Deer Lake fire department chief John Dinney welcomed the news that the town was exploring the option of a new building, even if it isn’t written in stone. Dinney has been talking about the need for a new building for at least three years, and he noted that the potential project was a campaign promise by Deer Lake Mayor Dean Ball in the September municipal election.

Dinney said fire department expansion over the years has meant his department has outgrown the current building, which has been in use since 1972.

“They just put new shingles on the building (last summer) that cost them $25,000. The building is always being maintained, but we really have outgrown it,” he said. “This is long overdue and I’m glad they’re talking about it.”

He said they have been adding vehicles over the years as the fire department’s role has been expanded to include surrounding areas.

Ball said the lack of space wasn’t just affecting the fire department.

“We have three workers in the town office who are working in the reception area. We just don’t have the space to find them their own offices,” the mayor said. “If anyone comes in to discuss something private, they have to find somewhere to go, so I think it’s time we did this.”

Ball agreed that moving slowly in the process was the right thing to do for council. He called the tender the first step in helping to garner the information they would need to make the next step.

He said at this point the plans would be for two separate buildings joined by a breezeway. He’d like to see it in the same area, but said the town is open to suggestions.

Deer Lake’s town manager said the tender would be prepared and ready for print within a week.

phutchings@thewesternstar.com

Twitter: WStarDeerLake

Organizations: Deer Lake council, Deer Lake Fire Department

Geographic location: Deer Lake

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