Civic centre accessibility examined

Accessibility at the North Battleford Civic Centre — and indeed, the future for the facility itself — was a prime topic at a meeting of city council’s Planning Committee on Monday.

At the meeting, council heard from Eithan Pillipow of Kindrachuk Agrey Architecture on the accessibility audit conducted on the Civic Centre, renamed recently the Access Communications Centre.

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A particular issue at the facility is its age. It is around 60 years old and for that reason alone a number of accessibility deficiencies were identified.

Priorities identified include the need to upgrade the guardrails and handrails at the building; safety and signage upgrades addressing such items as fire alarms and fire exits; and elevator access to the second floor lounge which currently can only be accessed through the stairs.

The latter item is considered a long-term item and would be a major capital investment. “It would greatly increase the usability of the facility,” said Pillipow.

The audit was done to identify needs and a cost estimate for the items was not provided. City Manager Randy Patrick noted they would come back with pricing on the priority items, and put them into the capital plan over the next number of years.

But a big issue for city officials in the future is how much they are willing to spend on upgrades given the current age of the facility. There has been a comprehensive study done on the building a few years ago, and some investments have been put into the building to help extend its life.

The long-term items in the audit report, such as the elevator, could potentially be addressed by building a new facility down the road. But the initial indication from council is they are interested in looking at addressing at least the short-term safety needs at the Civic Centre until a new building is built.

“We need to take a run at this, no matter how long we keep the Access Communications Centre,” said Mayor David Gillan, who said the Civic Centre has to be safe and has to be made accessible as best as possible.

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