By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The wait is almost over.
With winter slowly fading away, construction is still ongoing at the new consolidated operations depot, and city staff are now slated to start moving in on April 10.
With the office space available, administrative staff from city hall’s downtown location will begin to filter into the new location, explains Jag Sharma, the city’s commissioner of community services. Other works staff will begin to move in once the space is completed.
“We won’t begin to transition them over until we’re done from a winter perspective because we certainly can’t begin to move equipment when we still might need it and they’ve still got some construction aspects to be done,” Sharma says.
However, it’s still an exciting time for Sharma, who is looking forward to having a new, better functioning workspace for his staff.
“These guys need the appropriate space to be able to function properly, so that’s what I’m really looking forward to,” he says.
Following the administrative staff, the works department will be phased in next, followed by parts of the parks department.
Mark Robinson, the city’s director of facilities management, says there is still a bit of work to be done on the depot before the works departments can take occupancy. Currently, the framing is ongoing for the salt-brine building and the final leg of construction for the interior walls and partitions in the warehouse are underway.
According to Robinson, the project remains on budget with an update on the finances and project status set to come before committee in April.
While an updated budget and variance summary is yet to be posted on the city’s website. Robinson says the contingency remains around the $30,000 mark where it stood last month.
At this stage of the project, Robinson says it remains a challenge to keep the finances in check.
“We’re fighting to stay on budget,” he says. “The risks are less, but it’s challenging. My plan is to stay on budget.”
The $25-million dollar project, which is set to bring together several city departments from multiple locations across the city, could save an approximate $550,000 annually, the city claims.