City changes its mind on services building

The city's plan to consolidate all of its services into one municipal building has been fractured.

The city’s plan to consolidate all of its services into one municipal building has been fractured.

Interim city manager Brian Crist explained that, while the original plans had called for having one building to run all of the city’s business from – everything from snow removal and heavy equipment to processing dog licences – it now calls to have things split between “hard” and “soft” services in two separate buildings.

“The operations are more the hard services, the trucks and equipment and people. The soft services are more of those where you’d walk of the street to get a building permit, or taxation services or any of your permits like a dog licence,” Crist said. “Anything where you basically park our car and walk in.”

The decision comes from a Kobayashi and Zedda Architects report that the city commissioned to help plan for the consolidation.

“Early in the report they came back and said we should have a look at our operations and our service components,” Crist said.

Making people drive out to an industrial area to do their daily city paperwork is inconvenient, but having heavy equipment being run out of a yard in the downtown core is also a problem, Crist said.

“The next step is a business case report that looks at the financial pros and cons of each option.

“It’s taken a bit longer because the last thing you want is a report that, when it’s done, says a lot of things but doesn’t say enough to let you go forward, and ends up sitting on the shelf,” he said.

The final functionality and business-case reports are due out early in the New Year, Crist said. After that, they’ll go to city council for review.

A year ago the city started planning for the consolidation project, figuring it would cost about $10 million. The money was pulled out of the 2013 capital budget. But this year’s capital budget, released a month ago, and which Mayor Dan Curtis referred to as “bare bones,” includes no plans for any major infrastructure projects.

The KZA report, which began in 2012, cost $250,000.

Contact Jesse Winter at

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