Aug 23, 2019

Pre-construction phase of Machine Shop upgrades get started

The Town of Ladysmith has started the pre-construction phase of structural, code and seismic upgrades to the Machine Shop that will ensure this historic building is retained as a community asset for years to come.

The Town was awarded $1.8 million in federal Gas Tax funding in March 2018 to make improvements to the building. The Machine Shop is the anchor of the Arts and Heritage Hub contained within the Waterfront Area Plan.

Construction is expected to begin in late August or early September and be complete before the end of 2019.

Early phases of the project have involved a complete assessment of the 75-year-old building by architects and engineers in order to understand what BC Building Code requirements are necessary first before any future design phases can proceed.  

As part of completing this phase of building enhancements, excavation work on the exterior west side of the Machine Shop requires the removal of building braces and an old railway spur line.  

"The Town is committed to preserving the historical features of the Machine Shop that make it such a unique building and an important part of telling the story of our industrial heritage on the waterfront," said Mayor Aaron Stone.

The exterior building braces being removed are non-structural and will be retained, along with the spur line until Council determines how it wishes to proceed with future site development.

Existing, non-functioning doors will be removed during construction, and will be re-installed once renovations are complete.

An immediate priority for the project will be completing repairs to the roof beams so that a new roof membrane can be installed prior to the fall.

Throughout the pre-construction phase the Town has consulted with Machine Shop tenants, including the Ladysmith and District Arts Council, Coast Salish artist John Marston and the Ladysmith Maritime Society, to ensure minimal disruption.   Shipping containers have also been made available on site for groups requiring storage of any equipment or supplies during their temporary relocation.  

"We appreciate the cooperation of the tenants working together as we try and reduce the impact and complete the building enhancements over the coming months," said Stone.  

All existing Machine Shop tenants will be allowed to return following the completion of construction and Requests for Proposals for any new space allocations will be presented to Council in the coming months.

The Machine Shop was built by the Comox Logging and Railway Company in the 1940s to maintain its fleet of logging equipment and rail cars.  The Town acquired the building  in 1986.

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Machine Shop August 2019