Despite having to deal with potential COVID-19 hurdles, a full renovation of the Yarmouth Fire Hall and the completion of several other major projects highlight a successful construction season for the Town of Yarmouth.
Wednesday, November 4th - Yarmouth, N.S. – With winter just around the corner, the Town of Yarmouth’s 2020 construction season is almost at an end. Despite the arrival of COVID-19 and the restrictions and limitations that came with it, the Town’s Engineering Department was able to push through and complete a number of major projects ranging from underground infrastructure replacement to ferry terminal upgrades and most recently, a major renovation of the Yarmouth fire hall.
The hall was in real need of upgrading from a functional point of view. The second floor had become unusable due to a number of issues, so the main focus was a renovation that would bring back what used to be a community gathering hub and popular venue for fundraising events. Time and heavy usage had taken its toll and the best solution was a complete makeover.
After nearly six months of work that makeover is complete. Beginning with a walk up the main stairwell, the hall is once again a bright, welcoming and functional space. Every surface including the ceilings were fully refurbished. Major washroom upgrades were carried out including a fully accessible, barrier-free washroom with an adult change table. The hall also now offers a beautifully renovated kitchen and bar along with a new HVAC system. A separate, smaller project is underway that will see space on the lower level transformed into an operational lounge for volunteers.
A number of safety improvements that were required to get the space up to code were also carried out. Extensive fire spray proofing was added which involved spraying the underside of the steel structure and deck to provide a fire rating between the lower and upper floor. Other safety improvements saw exit stair construction brought up to code, including fire rating and railings. Finally, fire separations were applied to walls, and emergency lighting was installed.
According to Interim Fire Chief Mike Deveau, having the space back is a morale booster and will help with efforts to recruit new members.
“It’s an important renovation and move forward for the entire Department,” said Deveau. “For so many years the upper floor at the hall was a big part of who we are, especially when it comes to the volunteers. They relied on it for all kinds of fundraising and community events. When it became unusable, they lost some of their place within the organization and didn’t have a home. This renovation is big as it brings back a place that was special for them and the entire department.”
While it will be some time before the space will see any larger scale community events, Deveau envisions the renovation of the upper level and the addition of an operational lounge as key to encouraging new volunteers to come on board.
“Our goal is to be progressive in our approach to adding new members, and these spaces will serve to provide volunteers with comfortable and functional spaces they need. At the same time, it provides a facility that can give back to the community as a gathering place for years to come.”
Garian Construction of Yarmouth carried out the work and President Ian McNicol had the following to say about completing the project.
“It was great to be a part of this revitalization of the fire hall. The project went very well and we attribute that to Town Engineer Marc Brophy as a first mention, our subcontractors, and also the cooperation of the career firemen on site. We are very pleased with how the renovations turned out and I'm sure the community will be as well.”
When work began, it was scheduled to be completed over a five-month timeframe but delays due to COVID-19 regulations were a real possibility. As it turned out, those delays never happened. Garian, as well as other construction crews working on various town projects, were able to keep moving and keep people employed during a time when many were working from home or not working at all. Town-led projects alone saw dozens of workers from a variety of different trades kept busy for most of 2020.
While happy work at the hall is completed, Town of Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood is most excited about the ability of Town Engineering staff to push through and get so many important projects finished with COVID restrictions in place.
“The amount of work completed by our Engineering staff this year is simply phenomenal,” said Mood. “We were hit with COVID-19 in March and much of the province was shutdown, so the outlook on getting work completed seemed a little bleak. But our staff and construction crews managed to work within the safety guidelines and plow through some big projects. We are happy to have the work done, but also happy that it supported employment in the construction sector during a tough time.”
Several other key infrastructure projects have been finished, or substantially completed, despite challenges posed by COVID-19.
Here’s a summary of completed projects:
Glebe Street Sewer Separation Project - This project involved replacing a 100-year-old combined sewer system with separate storm and sanitary services. The upgrade now sees clean rain water to go directly to a harbour outfall and not be sent to the sewer treatment plant, resulting in a significant reduction in electricity use at the plant. This reduces the Town’s overall GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions. This type of sewer separation is planned for Parade Street in 2021 as Phase 2 of the project. The traffic lights at the intersection of Main Street and Parade Street will also be replaced under this contract.
Glebe Street Garage/Parking Lot (located directly behind Town Hall) – This project allowed the Town to extend the useful life of the concrete structure beneath the parking lot. The contractor removed asphalt to allow for an engineer assessment of the structure and to inspect the top of the slab for possible deterioration. Significant concrete repair work was undertaken to strengthen the structure and a waterproofing membrane was installed to prevent water infiltration which had been causing damage. In additions to repairs to the concrete, work was done on the support columns and underside of the slab. New doors and lighting were installed and to finish, waterproofing and new asphalt was put down over the garage. The remainder of the lot was sealed with new lines painted. The end result is a valuable storage and work area for the Town.
Ferry Terminal “Package #1” - Demolition and Roofing – This project was carried out by Graham Construction of Yarmouth and finished last spring. Graham installed new roofing on the main terminal building and oversaw the demolition of the passenger gangway and stevedore building, which were no longer needed in the new configuration.
Ferry Terminal “Package #2” - Ferry Terminal “Package #2” involved upgrades to the main terminal building envelope. Work for this package was awarded to RCS Construction and included new windows and doors, new vestibules, brick repairs, and siding. This work package is set to be completed in December.
Lake Milo Boathouse - This renovation was completed by another local contractor, Delmar Construction. This project consisted primarily of updating the washrooms and all fixtures, and adding a barrier-free washroom.
Bulk Water Station - located at the corner of Forest Street and Industry Avenue, this 24/7 self-serve water station was built to serve non-connected residents of Yarmouth County, especially during times of drought. Since opening on September 24th, it has dispensed over 3 million litres of water. On its busiest day, it served 154 customers/fills.
Haley Road Trail “Phase I” – This project saw the development of a multi-use trail/sidewalk installed on the Haley Road between Forest Street and Parade Street. Phase 2 is set for next spring and will see the trail extended from Parade Street to Starrs Road. Phase 3 will come later and will see the trail extend from the high school up to Forest Street, then south on the Haley Road to Argyle Street.
Brenton Water Tank Maintenance – the water storage tank located in Brenton had its exterior refurbished and painted.
Projects “in the works”:
Yarmouth Ferry Terminal – “Work Packages 3-6” – package #3 involves installation of foundations and underground site services for water, sewer, and electrical. Steel piles and concrete foundations have been constructed to house ticket booths for Bay Ferries and PIL Booths for CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency). “Work package #4” involves the construction of a new stevedore building which is well underway. “Work package #5” will see the construction of the new PIL booths for CBSA. This package is currently out for tender and is expected to be delivered for March of 2021. “Work package #6” will see the installation of the booths and accompanying canopies and is set for early spring 2021.
Main Street Sewer Separation, Parade Street to John Street – this is a two-stage project. The first stage involves the complete replacement of sewer and water infrastructure. Much like the Glebe Street sewer separation project, this stage involves replacing the combined rock sewer with separate sanitary and storm pipes and the installation of a new water service line. At this time, Aberdeen Construction has replaced the sewer and water lines and is now installing new curbing, with paving to follow before month’s end. Stage 2 of the project is a streetscape project which will begin in early spring 2021.