Region of Queens spending a cool $2 million on air conditioning

office cubicles
Global Empire call centre cubicles. Photo by Ed Halverson
Ed Halverson - QCCR/CJQC - LiverpoolNS | 04-07-2022
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Region of Queens will spend $1.9 million to fix the ailing cooling system at the Liverpool Business Development Centre.

Better known locally as the call centre building, the municipally owned property on Harley Umphrey Drive is home to Global Empire call centre and Belliveau Veinotte Inc accountants.

Mayor Darlene Norman says as the landlord, the region needs to provide a safe environment for the 100 plus people who go to work in the building every day.

“It’s a lot of money. It’s what happens when you’re a landlord. You know, what’s our other choice? Shut the building down, break our leases, hold our breath and hope that the thing doesn’t break again and then when it breaks again and then when it does, we have no solution for air conditioning?” said Norman. “It’s a lot of money to spend on a building. The building is not even worth that much money. However, it’s a business, it’s a building, it’s employing people, they’re good people in there working.”

A staff report indicates in its 20-year lifespan the HVAC unit has required numerous repairs, over and above what is considered normal maintenance.

The unit is approaching the end of its serviceable life and parts are becoming almost impossible to find.

DUMAC Energy Limited was hired in February to conduct a study of the Centre’s HVAC system which produced two recommendations: install a new single facility system estimated at $1.2 million or a four-quadrant system estimated at $1.5 million before structural upgrades and design work is considered.

Half the cost will come from a special operating reserve while the region will need to borrow money to cover the other half.

Norman says that borrowing could mean a small increase to resident’s property tax bill in the coming years.

“I believe it could roughly be two to three cents, which is what we dropped the rate down by this year. But, interest rates, who knows what they’ll be at the point in time.”

Norman says staff will begin working to resolve the HVAC issues right away but because of worldwide supply-chain issues she doesn’t expect the new equipment will be in place this summer.

Reported by Ed Halverson 
Twitter: @edwardhalverson

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