City considers delaying projects so it can rearrange City Hall

Council may delay a new sign at the Maritime Heritage Centre and expansion of video surveillance in order to rearrange City Hall

City council may put off a new entrance sign at the Maritime Heritage Centre parking lot and expanded video surveillance in order to rearrange office space inside City Hall.

The rationale behind the office space adjustments is to make room for the economic development function – formerly run out of the Enterprise Centre – and to create an office for city councillors.

Dave Morris, the city’s general manager of facilities and supply management, said staff is recommending that the office of the general manager of parks, recreation and culture be moved up to the second floor in order to accommodate the new economic position.

“The new economic development officer and support staff would occupy space vacated by the general manager, parks, recreation and culture, and adjacent office space which is next to the city manager’s office,” Morris wrote in a report to council.

Council announced last April that the city would be amalgamating Rivercorp – the city’s economic development arm – into City Hall operations.

The new economic development officer, which the city is in the process of recruiting, will report to City Manager Deborah Sargent under the direction of city council to advise on how economic initiatives should align with council’s strategic goals.

The hiring process and full integration of the position into City Hall operations is expected to take six months.

In the meantime, council has also expressed interest in creating office space for city councillors to work out of.

Currently, only the mayor has office space inside City Hall.

Morris said staff are recommending the city’s vault room be repurposed as an office for the city’s bylaw enforcement team in order to make room for a councillor office.

“The relocation of the bylaw function to the vault would free up space for a councillor office with direct access to the mayor’s office, city manager’s office, and the executive assistant’s office for administrative support,” Morris said.

But in order to accomplish all of those reorganization strategies, Morris said council will likely have to put off a couple of projects that council had put into the 2016 budget.

Those projects, a new entrance sign to the Maritime Heritage Centre (MHC) parking lot and an expansion to the city’s surveillance camera system, are budgeted at $50,000 and $20,000 respectively.

“The expansion of the surveillance camera system can be deferred, and the new MHC

sign could be installed when the MHC parking lot access and egress improvements are planned to be made in 2017,” Morris said.

He added that the biggest expense associated with shuffling around office space is in installing rolling shelves in City Hall’s photocopy storage room to accommodate files in the vault room that would have to be moved to make way for the bylaw enforcement officers.

City council had the rearrangement plans before it at Monday night’s council meeting but voted to refer the item to council’s Committee of the Whole meeting for further discussion.