Original Published on Aug 24, 2022 at 16:45

By Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Even after removing the generator that would have given Glencoe a second emergency gathering place, close to $300,000 has been added to the renovation bill for Glencoe Memorial Arena.

The unpleasant news was delivered by Cornerstone Architecture’s Alison Hannay at a special council meeting Aug. 18. 

Asbestos was found in the paint on the concrete structure when the lower ceiling was removed. That means workers cannot put up everything on scaffolding and install the needed piping in the ceiling without some extra work.

Hannay described the two options, the cheaper of which added $111,196.

“We need to have first of all the mechanical electrical trades either go up and show where the servicing’s going to be in, we need the asbestos trade to do the holes, and then we need mechanical trades to go back up and put them in,” she explained on option one.

“That price came at a much higher number than this so we looked at an alternative to that, which was to install unistrut which is basically a subsystem underneath the arena structure. This would all be installed by the asbestos trade and then the mechanical and electrical trades can then go and just install things as per normal.”

There was a $100,000 contingency built into the repeatedly-expanded budget. But without removing the installation of a new generator, the cost of changes was approaching $500,000.

Those include needing to replace the lower ceiling keeping the cold air in that was hoped to be reusable but was deemed not to be and is priced at $46,000. Other approved expenditures are $36,687 for rink slab reinforcement, $11,723 to move some gas line in the way of new duct work, $23,430 for additional corridor abatement, $16,811 for fixing a pipe going out to street for storm sewer sloped the wrong way back towards the arena, $28,000 for replacing leaky sanitary and storm pipes that were not where expected based on existing drawings, and other smaller items.

The new generator was priced at $220,117, though cutting it saved $150,000 as that is how much was budgeted for it.

Some savings were found on number of sprinklers ($9,500), an alternate dehumidifier ($12,300) that also keeps the project timeline on track, and alternate automatic entrance doors ($1,000).

“It wasn’t the best of news but when you’re renovating a building that’s 50 years old we’re not always aware of what is behind certain structure,” said Mayor Allan Mayhew after being delivered the news.

The change in plan should not delay the January opening, according to Hannay.

Removing the generator and the chance to have a second emergency facility with the firehall was discussed. 

“How common is it to have a backup generator at a hockey arena?” asked Coun. Mark McGill.

“We’ve worked in several municipalities where there is a backup generator when the municipality has decided to designate the space as an emergency facility,” answered Hannay, pointing to Komoka and London.

Coun. Christa Cowell said this was a topic with the emergency management committee.

“The firehall is not properly equipped to be such a space because of the increase in traffic that goes through the fire station because there are fire calls. It’s not the type of place that should be a designated emergency spot,” said Cowell.

Getting the arena ready to put in a generator without actually buying the generator was decided against after it was explained the generator itself was not the main cost, the connections and enlarging the space were.

“[But] it would definitely be more expensive to do it later,” added Hannay.

Council unanimously passed scrapping the generator and going ahead with the extra expenses.

This item reprinted with permission from The Middlesex Banner, Strathroy, Ontario