Friday, August 16, 2013

Calgary Municipal Building to fully re-open ahead of schedule

More than 1,900 City of Calgary employees were displaced from the Calgary Municipal Building and working in alternative workspaces as a result of the June flood. Some of these employees have been returned to the building and the remaining displaced employees are set to return in phases beginning on August 19, two weeks earlier than anticipated.

“Since the flood, our commitment has been to returning our displaced colleagues to safe and fully functioning buildings as quickly as possible,” explains Jason Halfyard, manager of Asset and Accommodation Planning for Corporate Properties & Buildings. “We’re pleased to be able to welcome back staff to the Municipal Building earlier than expected.”

Staff are returning to the Municipal Building ahead of schedule thanks to the efforts of City facility staff and their contractors and the recent successful re-connection of the entire Municipal Complex to the ENMAX power grid on August 10 and 11. The Complex includes the Municipal Building, Administration Building and Old City Hall.

This means the Municipal Complex is no longer running on generator power and the generators will be removed from the 3rd street SE sidewalk this Friday, August 16.

The Municipal Building’s electrical and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems as well as all safety systems have been tested and verified as functioning normally, enabling staff to return to work.

However, it will take longer to complete repairs to the heavily damaged Administration Building and Old City Hall. HVAC systems still need to be repaired and electrical and safety systems must be tested to ensure they’re working properly before anybody can return to those buildings.

Basement of Municipal Complex after the flood.
During the flood response and recovery, employees continued to provide essential City services by working in temporary workspaces across Calgary.   “A priority following the flood was to ensure all citizens were able to continue to participate in Council and committee meetings. It was also important to ensure Calgarians could access administrative services such as getting building permits or licenses, for example,” says Sandy Virgo, program manager working on alternative workspaces.

To make sure that happened, The City moved Council and committee meetings to Deerfoot Junction III in the northeast, set up four temporary service counters, and found a variety of temporary workplaces in nine different buildings across Calgary so City staff could continue providing City services.

Looking ahead, the September 9 and 16 Council Meetings will resume in Council Chamber. As work is still being completed at Old City Hall all Committee Meetings will continue to be held at the Deerfoot Junction III location.

Although The City is repopulating some key City buildings damaged by the flood, work on these buildings is is far from over.  Restoring functionality to the basement levels of the three buildings in the Municipal Complex and additional work on damaged buildings electrical and mechanical systems remains to be completed. The City is also looking at ways to mitigate future risk to buildings and service delivery.

“Were still in the early stages of developing a disaster and resiliency plan for our buildings”, explains Grant Sommerfeld, manager of Facilities for Corporate Properties & Buildings. “These plans will be comprehensive and will consider mitigation strategies not only for flooding, but for other potential disasters and events.”

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