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Municipal hall renovations on hold

Estimates for work skyrocket to $15.8 million

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Planned renovations and expansion of Whistler’s municipal hall are likely to be put on hold until after the 2010 Winter Olympics now that estimates for the work have climbed to $15.8 million.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler made the announcement Tuesday morning.

Whistler council will consider a staff recommendation to not proceed with the planned upgrades at their Aug. 20 meeting.

The budget approved for the work last fall was $5.785 million. The proposed upgrades included an additional 6,500 square feet of space, comprised of new council chambers, more office space and space for archives, as well as interior and exterior renovations and improvements to the heating and cooling systems.

The new total cost estimate of $15.8 million included all fees, construction, furnishings and new equipment and a contingency. Municipal staff looked at various ways to scale down or phase the project but couldn’t bring it within the approved budget.

Instead, staff will be asking council to approve upgrades to municipal hall’s southwest entrance, to improve its accessibility and appearance from Town Plaza, investigate additional office space requirements and costs, add trailers to the parking lot and physically reorganize divisions to match the corporate realignment announced last November with the Whistler 2020 priorities.

Cost estimates for the entrance work have not yet been prepared.

It’s expected the full municipal hall renovation won’t be considered until after the 2010 Olympics, when it is hoped that the construction cost climate will have improved.

Municipal staff were apprized of the recommended actions last week.

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