Renovations on track for next council

If everything works out, the next Grand Forks City Council will be having its inaugural meeting at the rebuilt City Hall.

If everything works out, the next Grand Forks City Council will be having its inaugural meeting at the rebuilt City Hall.The current council has held meetings at the RDKB office and then at the Canpar building, where they currently are, after an arsonist set fire to City Hall on Sept. 18, 2013.Currently, contract workers from M.J.I. Contracting are busy removing lead from the walls to make the building safe for when construction begins.“Currently, we are still in the remediation phase with Belfor Restoration removing lead paint from the exterior walls,” said Sarah Winton, deputy corporate officer/communications. “This process could take up to five weeks.”M.J.I. was subcontracted by Belfor, which is out of Kelowna, and has been working on the site for more than a week.“We’ve been brought in to do lead abatement,” said Mathew Isabelle of M.J.I. “The paint they used back in the day was all lead-containing. With the renovation work that’s going to be done here, we have to come in and remove that safely prior to any work beginning. We’re just here to clean it up and make it safe for the next crew.”M.J.I. travels all around B.C. and Alberta, said Isabelle. He added that the company hired three local workers for the crew. “We try to bring in a couple of qualified guys and then get local help where we are.”The company uses big fans with air filters to suck out all the air from the building and pump it outside.“It comes out as clean air,” he said. “It puts negative pressure inside so any dust or anything gets caught in the filters. We bag out all the debris and take it out to the dump to dispose of safely.”The city has not yet put out a tender for the contractor for the actual rebuilding. Winton said the contract is expected to go out for tender the week of May 19 and close the week of June 9.“Construction is expected to begin mid-June and we are hoping to move back into City Hall for the inaugural meeting of the new council in the first week of December,” said Winton.Insurance money from the fire is expected to cover code upgrades and replacement costs, said Winton. “The team is working to ensure that the cost stays within the estimated range while continuing to negotiate with insurance for some of these costs.”The full cost of the replacement of City Hall is not known at this time, she added.

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