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Prince Rupert anticipates $750,000 in leasehold improvements to relocate Public Works

Lease deal for vacant McCarthy GM dealership includes option to purchase
Mayor Lee Brain and Richard Pucci director of operations and intergovernmental relations, stand outside the newly leased Chamberlain Ave. property on March 24 to where Public Works will be relocating. (Photo: supplied by City of Prince Rupert)

A $750,000 investment into commercial leasehold improvements will be made by the City of Prince Rupert to relocate Public Works operations into vacant space left behind by the McCarthy GM Dealership closure in December 2020.

The five-year lease, signed this week, includes an exclusive option to purchase the property, the city stated in a press release on March 24.

“The city has long been looking for a permanent solution to address the failing building stock at the Wantage Road Public Works yard,” Lee Brain, mayor, said. “The former vehicle dealership is a more efficient option for the city. It’s an ideal location for crews given its large parking lot and well-kept building infrastructure.”

Brain hopes the more central location will mean the city has a more visible presence in the community.

As previously reported in The Northern View on March 22, three-quarters of a million dollars in cost will need to be invested by the city to bring the Chamberlain Ave. property up to spec for occupation. The anticipated financial outlay was brought to public attention in the March 14 city council meeting as an amendment to the proposed 2022 capital budget and will be covered by dividends paid to the city.

Currently, Wantage Road’s existing Public Works facilities are “sustaining significant leaks.” In 2020, the city invested in a set of used ATCO trailers as an interim solution to house staff, following the discovery of maintenance issues beyond repair. In the meantime, the city stated that management worked to find a more permanent and suitable resolution.

The new lease will save a vast amount of time as a complete new build would mean finding appropriate land followed by architectural designs and obtaining contracting services.

The project will upgrade the existing facilities to Public Works requirements, including integrated office spaces, warehousing infrastructure, washroom upgrades, locker and lunchroom area renovations, and other minor updates.

The new facilities will accommodate 60 staff members and primary work areas, while the Wantage Road location will still be used for fleet storage and materials.

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 K-J Millar | Editor and Multi-Media Journalist 
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