Carl Zehr Square at Kitchener City Hall may not reopen until next August

The Kitchener City Hall ION LRT station on Duke Street West in front of city hall. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

The fences erected around Kitchener City Hall will likely remain in place longer than anticipated.

The city has hit a few snags in a renovation project. The city needs to fix critical infrastructure in the building as well as the mechanicals for the ice rink/water feature in Carl Zehr Square.

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The city lost 20 days for the project in the spring when construction was shut down for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, city staff recommended increasing the scope of the project, which will push back the timeframe and increase the budget.

“Initially, the project on phase one was expected to take until the end of June 2021. But now we have to do additional repairs to building components to ensure that we have a good surface for the bonding of the membrane, and so that will push the work until August 2021,” said Lynda Stewart, manager of projects and energy management for the City of Kitchener.

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Staff recommend the project be expanded to include fixing the pedestrian ramp from College Street, the staircase on the east side to the upper terrace as well as the upper terrace itself.

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Stewart says the move will add another $1.15 million to the project’s price tag, but will take care of work now that will need to happen in the near future.

The total cost could increase from around $12 million to more than $14 million with the additional work as well as some unforeseen issues that have added $900,000. To complete the work by next fall, staff recommend the city spend $150,000 to get work done outdoors during the winter months.

The work still needs to be approved by city council, but Stewart believes the finished product will be worth the wait.

“We needed to improve the infrastructure. It was aging and needed to be replaced,” she said.

“But the secondary objective is to make this the more functional space for community events. And so as good stewards of our assets, it’s important to do this to protect and prolong the life of those.”



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