Orangeville helps cover repair costs to seniors’ centre

November 2, 2023   ·   0 Comments


A leaking basement at the Orangeville Seniors’ Centre is drawing concern for patrons and staff.

The Orangeville Senior’s Centre on Bythia Street provides social, recreational, and educational opportunities for people 55 and older. Currently, there are 560 members.

Brenda Watson, the administrator at the centre, told town council on Oct. 30 that there’s been water in the building’s basement since before she started working there.

The water leaks into the basement near the shuffleboard court in the spring when snow and ice melt. Staff have minimized water leaks by arranging for heavy snow to be blown away from the exterior wall of the building. That’s in addition to snow removal by the municipality, which is done at cost to the seniors’ centre.

Water runs down a wall in the utility room, across the floor, and under drywall into an adjacent bathroom.

Water also runs into a covered stairwell, which is a downstairs outside entrance and emergency exit.

Efforts began in late 2021 and early 2022 to find ways to rectify leaks in the building envelope.

The senior centre secured an Ontario Trillium Foundation Capital Improvements grant of $106,000 to be used to excavate the creek side of the building down to weeping tiles. Work will be done to ensure weepers are clear and attach a waterproofing material and membrane to the exterior foundation walls to prevent more water from leaking into the basement.

Contractors dug test holes outside the building on the Mill Creek side.

“Very quickly it became obvious that we weren’t finding weeping tile,” Watson said. “We weren’t finding places where the water would outlet.”

All that was found in the test holes was soil and more water, she said.

“We called in the town and the town said this project is beyond the scope of your original plan,” Watson said.

The contractor provided an additional contract quote that exceeds the amount of the Trillium grant.

“We require supplementary resources beyond our grant to ensure the safety of our seniors and the long-term integrity of the building,” she said.

Councillor Andy Macintosh said the municipality owns the seniors’ centre building. Therefore, as with the recent work at the Alder Street recreation centre, any work necessary should be done to repair the Bythia Street facility.

“This council needs to take action to fix it,” he said.

David Smith, the town’s CAO, said the municipality has a number of leased buildings and all the leases call for different levels of service.

Patrick Kelly, the town’s treasurer, said the existing agreement with the seniors’ club states that the club’s board of directors would maintain the structure.

“So there hasn’t been funds set aside for that,” Kelly said.

“So the ask here tonight is for the town to pay 100 per cent of the cost to fix it?” Coun. Debbie Sherwood asked

“Of the second quote, yeah,” Watson said.

Heather Savage, general manager of community services, said Trillium agreed to cover the first quote of $106,000 for the initial scope of work. The second quote for the expanded remediation work had an extra $80,200 plus about $20,000 in contingencies. And none of that includes building permit fees.

Coun. Joe Andrews suggested that perhaps the seniors’ centre insurance policy would cover the work. He said it would be due diligence to check with the insurance company to see if anything can be done.

“Then report back to town staff to see how we might be able to move ahead with supporting this in some capacity to Coun. Macintosh’s point,” Andrews said.

Kelly said a condition of the lease agreement is that the seniors’ centre holds a $5-million insurance policy.

“I think it’s important for council to realize that there is a lease in place,” Smith said. “There is a lease in place that outlines responsibilities and roles.”

But, according to Smith, it’s not an unreasonable request for the seniors’ centre to ask for support to maintain the building.

“It is over and beyond what they typically would think of for maintenance,” he said. “There are options to achieve that shared goal.”

Council decided to approve the cost of repairs to the centre to a maximum of $110,000, funded through general capital reserves. Municipal staff will work with the seniors’ centre to develop a funding model.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.