Telkwa council is currently meeting in an unfinished section of the municipal building. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Telkwa council is currently meeting in an unfinished section of the municipal building. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Pandemic pushes Telkwa to renovate council chambers earlier than anticipated

Council awards contract to give new meeting room a facelift ahead of schedule

New council chambers are set to get a facelift in the Village of Telkwa’s office.

Since the pandemic began earlier this year, council has been meeting in a larger room in the building to allow for physical distancing however the area is unfinished. There are exposed wall studs and only temporary lighting and heating.

The village purchased the meat co-op’s former building about ten years ago on the corner of Hankin and Highway 16 and has been slowly renovating it, which not only helped to clean up that corner of Telkwa but also created a village office after the former one was deemed unsafe.

Council meetings were previously being held in a different room that was renovated prior to the health pandemic but it was a tight fit.

Council recently requested staff look into ways to improve the new meeting space.

Director of Operations Lev Hartfeil told council at their last meeting on 13 that two quotes were received to renovate the room.

The work will include framing the interior walls and finishing them with drywall, paint and baseboards; installing a t-bar ceiling; adding electric baseboard heaters and putting in a door to the back storage room.

Council awarded the contract to the lowest bid which was from Lubbers Contruction Ltd of Smithers. The quote came in at $28,400, about $17,000 less than the other bid. The 2020 budget allotted $25,000 for the work.

Director of Finance Rowena Atienza-Paquette told council she could find the remainder of the money in the budget.

“We do have a surplus in the municipal hall maintenance and miscellaneous [lines in the budget] that could cover the $3,400 shortfall,” she said.

Hartfeil also noted there is an ongoing building assessment that will result in a Life Cycle Maintenance Plan for the office building.

The room is intended to be the permanent council chambers but depending on what is found in the assessment, some of the work described above many end up needing to be redone in order to accommodate any required structural, mechanical or other work to suit the long term maintenance of the building.

The work will take about a month and the contractor has committed to finishing it by January 1.

There is one regular council meeting in the month of December that will require the meeting to be held elsewhere.

CAO Debbie Joujan also suggested if there isn’t a critical agenda in December, the meeting could be postponed until January.