Update on HY Louie building, the future municipal hall

As The Mayor Sees It with District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys

We should probably do an update on the old HY Louie building since some residents seem to be concerned for one reason or another.

In case some don’t recall, the agreed upon selling price for the property was $275,000. The District paid $151,000 cash for the old store, the small building to the south and surrounding acreage. The Hy Louie Company donated $124,000 to cover the remainder of the price.

In other words the District paid less than the value of the commercial lots for the buildings and the land. In essence, the buildings were free.

This is largely due to the generosity of the HY Louie Company. It also didn’t hurt that our local real estate agents Karina Scott and Debra Fennell donated their fees that would have been paid by the District and received a tax receipt.

The old store is in excess of 8,000 square feet in size. Prior to closing the deal, the District had an evaluation done on the condition of the building. The engineers found that the basic structure was well worth renovating and could be put to good use.

Remediation of the main portion of the building was done to remove materials, thereby allowing further assessment of the walls and roof structure.

Another group of engineers then checked the exposed roof trusses. They advised that if a peaked roof was placed on the building extensive earthquake renovations would be needed. The decision was then made to retain a flat roof.

To date the roof is mostly completed and we are waiting to have the finishing done on the new parapets.

The costs to date are approximately $40,000 for the initial remediation work, the roof will be approximately $85,000, and the stucco finish that has yet to be started was quoted at $17,005. The total so far is approximately $142,000. If you calculate this to a per square foot price it comes to less than $18 per square foot.

I admit that the totals are given as approximate amounts. They have been rounded up, so if I have missed some charges the costs I have given will cover them.

I am told the approximate cost of new commercial construction runs around $200 per square foot, which puts the cost of an 8000 square foot building at $1.6 million. With that in mind,  it strikes me that in the end we should have a useful building for considerably less than that.

Some may argue that point I am sure. Some say that we don’t need 8000 square feet of space, and should have torn down the old store and built a new smaller building.

The folks offering these ideas perhaps don’t understand that the money we have for the project comes from Gas Tax. The use of these funds is exceptionally limited at this point in time. They can be used to renovate a building to be “greener”, but not for new construction. That may change in the future, but for now that is one of the reasons the District chose to renovate.

That, and paying to scrap a perfectly good building in my opinion would have been a horrible waste of public money.

On a different front we are now back to digging for the sewer collection system. Lower Nicola Backhoe has returned and has started to excavate a short distance from the site that was deemed to possibly be of significant archeological value. There will be testing in a number of places to see if there needs to be further investigation.

You may notice some activity behind the Fire Hall in the next while. The District council voted to provide some land for our local Search and Rescue team to build a proper building to house their truck and equipment. This plan was being talked about prior to the theft of considerable equipment off the SAR truck. Unfortunately it did not come in time to prevent the theft.

It takes a special kind of lowlife to steal from a not-for-profit society that works so hard to help keep us all safe. If anyone has any knowledge of the theft, please come forward and at least help get the equipment back.