City roads depots could be on the chopping block

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Bobcaygeon Depot

KAWARTHA LAKES- The City of Kawartha Lakes is looking at options for the 15, aging roads depots it currently operates.

At Tuesday’s Council meeting Councillors heard from a consultant who was hired to look at the options. A report from Stirling Rothesay says the depots have continued to deteriorate since amalgamation and many are quickly approaching the end of their expected service life of 60 years. “Many of these depots are becoming too small or inadequate for current needs” James Makaruk, Director Stirling Rothesay Consulting told council.

To address the City’s concern about the ability of these Depots to meet the growing demand for services and legislative requirements, Stirling Rothesay Consulting was retained to complete a Master Plan to recommend the preferred Depot network design.

The city currently has 15 depots (below)with 11 in use according to the consultants.

The company came up with four alternatives for council to consider.

Alternative #1 would be the status quo.

Alternative #2 would divide the City into three operations areas, North, Central and South. Each area would have one main Primary Depot and one Satellite Depot (for sand/salt/materialstorage and snow dump)

-The North area would have an expanded Coboconk for the Primary Depot (including Fleet Services) and Carden for the Satellite Depot

– The Central area would have a new site for the Primary Depot (slightly east of Fenelon Falls) and either Fenelon Falls or Eldon for the Satellite Depot

– The South area would have St. David Street for the Primary Depot and Manvers as the Satellite Depot (with sand/salt/material storage). Transit and EMS would be expected to relocate

Alternative #3 would be the same as Alternative 2 except the South area would build a new Primary Depot close to the Fleet Services Depot on Little Britain Road, and use Manvers as the Satellite Depot (with sand/salt/material storage). Vacating the St. David Street Depot would permit Transit to control this facility and, eventually, build their maintenance bays there to achieve full consolidation

Alternative #4 would be the same as Alternative 2 except each area would have one main Primary Depot and two Satellite Depots (for sand/salt/material storage and snow dump)

– The North area would have an expanded Coboconk for the Primary Depot (including Fleet Services) and Carden and one new location for the Satellite Depots

– The Central area would have a new site for the Primary Depot (slightly east of Fenelon Falls) and both Fenelon Falls and Eldon for the Satellite Depots

– The South area would have St. David Street for the Primary Depot and Manvers and Emily as the Satellite Depots (with sand/salt/material storage). Transit and EMS would be expected to relocate

The consultants analyzed a number of factors in each alternative including Costs, Operational Needs and Growth Requirements, Legislative and Environmental Requirements, Impact on the Natural and Social Environment, Best Practice and Industry Trends for the Design of Roads Depots, Capital Cost Requirements and Impact on Employee Productivity and Service Levels.

The consultants determined alternative number three would be the best option. “What we believe is the locations of these depots will serve the roads dept well over the coming years.” Makaruk says.

The report says, based on the study findings, Alternative Solution 3 was ranked the highest – largely because it recommended that the Roads operation at the St. David Street Depot be relocated to a new facility close to the existing Fleet Services facility at Little Britain Road (outside of Lindsay). Consolidating the Roads operation with Fleet Services would offer numerous operational benefits (rather than trying to upgrade the St. David Depot). It would also provide room for growth.

 

The total 20 year capital and facility operating cost for the Preferred Solution (including the cost to rebuild those depots that have exceeded their expected useful life of 60 years) is estimated to be $34,599,326. By comparison, the total 20 year cost for Alternative Solution 1 (the Do Nothing approach) is estimated to be $35,667,638.

The reports says this would offer a savings of $1,068,312 over 20 years and when the employees are consolidated at one of three primary depots, they expect an increase in management focus, communication, and effectiveness. This should result in an improvement in collaboration and productivity/service levels by the crews resulting in a savings of $4,540,000 over 20 years.  Taking this into consideration, the Preferred Solution requires $5,608,312 less funding than the Do Nothing approach over a 20 year period according to the consultants.

However some Councillors questioned those savings. Councillor Breadner said the projected sales figures for the outdated depots are too high. He says market conditions and the fact that the soil at these sites could be contaminated makes them harder to sell. “We struggled to sell the last depot we had for sale for $120,000 and some of the struggles were the environmental issues, I disagree the alternate would be a savings,  I think these numbers have been skewed to look like a savings but I don’t think its going to be” he said.

Makaruk says he still thinks there would be a savings. “There’s no new money that we are asking for, the money that would be required to fund this solution is part of a long term capital plan.”

Others questioned how the entire city could be serviced with only three main depots. “Cost control is one thing but service delivery is another.  remarked Councillor Miller. “If I’m in Kinmount or I’m in little britain what is my service going to look like.”  Makaruk says it’s all about money. “It’s always a balance between level of service and how much you are willing to pay”

Council recieved the report. There’s a second meeting planned on the issue and then staff will bring back a full report and final draft of environmental assessment. It would then be field with ministry for 30 day review. After that the process would be deemed complete and move on to implementation phase.