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Pincher council reviews operations facility needs

Saturday, 29 October 2022. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Pincher council reviews operations facility needs

Pincher council reviews operations facility needs
By Sean Oliver
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Last fall, Pincher Creek town council approved a condition assessment on the operations facility. The facility assessment is one of four similar studies recently completed by the town, which include the curling rink, arena and Lebel Mansion.

Stephenson Engineering was contracted to perform the operations facility assessment in the spring of 2022, involving an on-site inspection and interviews with staff and management. The report was completed and submitted at the beginning of October, and council reviewed its findings during the Oct. 24 regular meeting.

Alexa Levair, the town’s manager of operations and infrastructure, said having a third-party examination of the facility was a useful way to ascertain current conditions and needs.

“We just wanted an outsider’s look as to whether there was anything we could do internally to the building or add-ons or how we could make the building function a little better for our needs,” she said.

Overall, the report found everything in the building was in an acceptable condition. To maintain that standard, the electrical panel and all the windows and doors would need to be replaced in the next 10 to 20 years.

Currently, the biggest issue with the facility is adequate room for operations staff to work in. Due to a lack of offices in the building, Levair and an administrative assistant work in an adjacent Atco trailer.

“It is functioning for the time being, but it is, especially as it gets colder, quite inconvenient to have to go outside in order to get any photocopying or go to the washroom or heat up your lunch,” Levair said.

Space constraints were also an issue for the operations yard due to the facility sharing some of the property with the SPCA building and a communications tower, Leavir added.

“We have barely enough space for the material piles that we typically have for different kinds of gravel and shale for pathways, and for the equipment to be parked outside it is very tight,” she said.

Inside the building, because the wash bay is attached to the main building, staff workspaces are often filled with the humidity and smells from equipment being hosed down, which is particularly problematic when garbage trucks are being cleaned. Exhaust from equipment entering and leaving the bay is also spread throughout the office building.

The facility also lacks private office space for online training, leaving staff to work in common areas like the lunchroom or meeting room, where they are often interrupted. Additionally, only one change room exists, making it difficult for the co-ed operations staff to change into their work gear. 

While the report acknowledged renovating the building at the existing site was an option, remaining at the same location would not address the space needs in the operations yard. Instead, the report recommended the town build a new two-storey operations facility in the northeast section of town behind Walmart as part of the town’s area structure plan.

The report did not include a detailed design but did estimate developing a larger parcel and new facility would cost about $8 million.

Council received the report as information and will consider what to do with the operations facility as part of its 10-year capital project plan.a