City council has set the date for the Community Services Centre to be decommissioned. By June 30 of next year, the building will be taken out of service, due to an exhaustive list of repairs that are needed.
Lloydminster first acquired the Community Services Centre in 1980 after purchasing it from the Lloydminster Public School Division. In 1991, the building name was changed to the Regional Community Services Centre and since then has been mainly used for non-profit and community organizations. The City has determined it’s reached the end of its serviceable life expectancy, with maintenance issues including heating and ventilation issues, crawl space flooding, sewer line deficiencies, a needed replacement of windows and rehabilitation of the road access and parking lot.
It’s estimated that the repairs and maintenance will cost the city $2 million. With current leases in the building set to expire by the end of the year, the city has decided to take the steps to give the organizations it houses time to find a new home. Councillor Aaron Buckingham has worked in that building as Chamber of Commerce President and knows that the impact is far-reaching.
“There are the tenants in the Community Services building you see as permanent fixtures, but are about seventeen or more other groups that come in and utilize those facilities in the evenings for their meetings,” says Buckingham. While the decision to take it out of commission is difficult, Buckingham sees it as the right move to avoid a costly municipal expense.
“The community is subsidizing the losses on that building. Every single taxpayer is paying a price to keep that building running. So having the decommissioning being June 30 of 2020 is the right move. I wish nothing but the best for all the tenants that are in there.”
While leases expire at the end of December, a clause exists for tenants to pay current rates month-to-month until de-commission. They effectively have a year to decide where their new home might be, which Buckingham says was important to city council. He adds that the tenants have been notified by city administration that this would be a path forward.
“Administration has been over to visit with those tenants on numerous occasions. They’ve seen some of the things being done there, as far as cleaning and looking at those deficiencies. It’s a shock, I’m sure, but it’s not a surprise,” says Buckingham.
Councillors likened the building and others like it to cars; there comes a point where it has served its purpose and may no longer be worth maintaining. Mayor Aalbers agrees that the costs of maintenance aren’t worth it in the long run and says the City isn’t in the business of renting property.
“We’re not in the business of being a commercial renter, and it was costing the taxpayers money to keep the building on hand. We see it best that it comes to an end, and that’s what will happen,” says Aalbers.
The CSC was first built in 1951 by the Lloydminster Public School Division. It operated as Winston Churchill School before the school moved to its current location.