Orangeville dips into reserve funds to fix downtown clock tower

June 29, 2023   ·   0 Comments


Orangeville’s clock tower will be able to indicate the correct hour more than twice a day soon enough.

It’s only a matter of time, and a matter of $50,000 that council approved when it met on June 19 to be drawn from the municipal general reserve fund.

The Verdin Company of Woodstock will repair the clock tower located within the Broadway median between First and Second Streets.

According to a report to council by Tim Kocialek, the town’s general manager of infrastructure services, the clock tower has been a staple in Orangeville’s downtown for a number of years.

The tower has historical value and has been one of the focal points of Orangeville’s downtown since the inception of the downtown medians in the early 2000s.

But the clock’s inaccuracy has drawn negative attention in recent years, even though it’s undergone numerous repairs over the years with limited success.

Public Works staff reviewed the clock’s mechanical components earlier this year to determine a permanent repair. It was recognized that this repair would be more expensive than the average repairs that have been undertaken in the past.

It should be noted that there are limited companies that specialize in the repair of these types of clocks.

Initially, it was determined that repairs to the time-keeping mechanisms would yield acceptable results. However, after some discussion and review, the Verdin Company reconsidered its approach and recommended that the time-keeping components behind the clock face be completely replaced.

Some of the mechanisms have been modified over the years and cannot be further adjusted. Verdin asserted that new technology allows for more accurate time-keeping, easier time setting and better access to simple maintenance.

Verdin’s proposal includes a provision to better seal the enclosed area that houses the mechanical and electronic mechanism. Some of the internal components are no longer available, and new parts and installation will come with a three-year warranty resulting in better value for the repair.

Verdin Company provided its quote in U.S. dollars since the parts will be purchased from the United States.

“Staff have applied a conservative 40 per cent exchange rate and determined that the amount being asked for in this report will be sufficient to complete the described repairs,” Kocialek wrote in his report.

Deputy Mayor Todd Taylor said it’s essential that the clock tower indicate the correct time.

“It’s an embarrassment when you go downtown and it’s not working,” he said. “And the clock is too beautiful not to have it in working condition.”

The clock tower sat in the basement of the town hall for years until a former deputy mayor took it upon himself to repair it.

“We don’t need it telling the right time twice a day,” Taylor said. “We need it telling the right time all the time, so let’s fix it.”

Councillor Andy Macintosh said council should fix the clock or dismantle it altogether.

Coun. Debbie Sherwood lobbied on an earlier motion for requested spending to be deferred until the 2024 budget process. She said she felt the same about dipping into the reserves for the clock repairs.

“I know that my answer back would be that it’s going to be budgeted out of reserves anyway,” she said.

Coun. Sherwood added that she’s still going to vote against the allocation of funds.

“I’m not comfortable with it coming out of reserves at this time,” Sherwood said.

Kocialek said the reason staff requested the money now is so the repairs could be completed before the winter.

“The work can be done this year and it all will be corrected this year,” Kocialek said.

“You have to be able to tell the time any time of the year,” said Coun. Joe Andrews.

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