Four architectural drawings of Hope’s Station House, costs and complications with building code became topics of discussion at Monday’s committee of the whole meeting.
Council eventually decided that they will host a public consultation within the next few weeks, and then get cost estimates.
Architect Geoff Lawlor presented four options varying in areas such as washroom design, basement space allocation and second floor use, each with its own implications on the degree of modification required.
For example, Lawlor said if the second floor will house an office, “it can be done, but at a cost.” He elaborated that the access to the second floor required modification.
However, if the second floor is made as an attic, that would allow a hatch access, freeing up space on the main floor because there is no need for stairs.
Its usage also had implications on whether sprinkers are required by code, which affects costs. If all three levels — basement, main and second floor — of the building are used, that requires either sprinklers or restriction on occupancy. If the second floor is used as an attic or mechanical room, then it would be classified as a two-story building and sprinklers are not required.
“It’s technicalities that I wrestle with when I look at the different planning options that we have to deal with,” said Lawlor.
Lawlor also highlighted the perimeter balcony and supports do not meet fire code.
“Typically this is done with heavy timber construction. That’s not been done with this construction, so it’s an ongoing problem,” said Lawlor.
After the presentation, Coun. Scott Medlock reacted to this.
“I’m trying to figure out where the scales sort of tipped,” said Medlock.
Medlock pointed to the exterior, where recent renovations have received the approval of the engineer and the building inspector.
“Trying to figure out why all of a sudden now what we’re saying is it doesn’t meet code. Was there something that triggered that, and now, this has to go into the new building, as opposed to renovation, type of situation,” said Medlock.
Lawlor said he could not comment on the past when he was not involved, noting that a change of building usage would require the building to be raised to current code requirements, especially when a significant renovation is involved. District of Hope operations director Kevin Dicken concurred.
“I don’t see (upgrades) as a bad thing, however, I do agree at a certain time, cost is going to dictate how far we can go and how much can go into this building,” said Dicken. “Rather than dwell to much on the past, I think it might serve us better just to move forward.
Read the full story in the Nov. 17 edition of The Standard.