July 16th, 2024

Town of Coaldale begins transition to new Civic Square

By Erika Mathieu SOUTHERN ALBERTA NEWSPAPERS ssnews@sunnysouthnews.com on January 6, 2023.

SOUTHERN ALBERTA NEWSPAPERS Coaldale's municipal offices will be fully operational in the new Civic Square Building by the end of the month.

After many years of planning and development, The Town of Coaldale’s offices will soon be fully operational on the second floor of the new Civic Square building at 801 20th Avenue.

While planning dates back several years, the Civic Square project, built in collaboration with the third-party private developer, Shift Real Estate Investments LP, initially broke ground in June 2021. The completion of Phase One is part of a three-phase economic development project, and will serve the community with indoor and outdoor spaces, including a seasonal outdoor rink, and provide needed commercial space and parking to businesses along main street, in addition to housing new Council Chambers.

In a Jan. 5 Town of Coaldale release, Mayor of Coaldale Jack Van Rijn said, “We look at the Civic Square project as much more than just the construction of a new Town Office; at its core it’s an economic development project that, once fully operational, will serve as a gathering place that will attract people and events to Coaldale’s downtown core.”

The building includes an atrium on the main level which can accommodate up to 260 people comfortably and can be rented for a variety of different events. The second floor of the building was purchased by the Town and will serve as the new municipal offices. Van Rijn recently told the Herald the Atrium feature is, “going to be very unique for a town our size,” and added he anticipates it to be well-utilized, not only by organizations in Coaldale, “but (by organizations) around all of southern Alberta.”

Van Rijn added the new space will be beneficial from an operational perspective with respect to building stronger communication and synergy between Town staff, as more of the team will be working within the same building.

“One of the big bonuses of having this new Town office location in the Civic Square is that we’ll be able to have all the department heads working out of the same building and it’ll really smooth out the interactions between senior staff members, including myself, (now) that everybody will be in one location.”

Van Rijn added, “When we’re setting up the meetings, we have a large Conference room that everybody can get together to discuss whatever needs to be talked about when it comes to the town of Coaldale, and for me, that’s a big item.”

The initial budget for the Civic Square project was approved for $5.3 million in Nov. 2018, however this total rose to $6,395,530 at the time of tender in the spring of 2021. The project was funded primarily through MSI Capital grants and Capital reserves, as well as the sale of the Town office, and the NE Industrial Park land reserve. The 2022 budget indicated “no additional ongoing operating costs” would be required for the new building, over and above the maintenance costs previously approved for the old Town office.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the Town of Coaldale, Kalen Hastings, said in the Jan. 5 release staff are thrilled with the completion of the new building.

“A lot went into the planning of this building, and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.”

With Phase One of the project complete, progress will continue with the commencement of Phases Two which will allow for the further development of up to 10,000 square feet of main floor commercial space.

Between the new Civic Square building and the Coaldale Public Library, Phase Three will see the completion of an outdoor space, designed to serve as a “hub” for festivals, outdoor gatherings, markets, and community events. Rough-in hook ups will allow the area to be transformed into a seasonal outdoor skating rink. Council approved the remaining features for the outdoor “hub” during the 2023 budget deliberations.

Coaldale’s new Town Office will be fully operational as of Jan. 30.

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