Q. Why was this location chosen?
A. The new Hub will be centrally located for greater efficiency, ease of access and away from downtown streets making it safer for citizens and improving the level of service. The new location is well removed from heavy traffic flows in downtown, and was selected because interaction with the public is not a requirement of the facility.
Q. Who will occupy the building?
A. Once construction is complete in 2019, staff and equipment based in the old Municipal Services Building downtown will be relocated to the Hub along with Transit operations from the old Marwell bus garage. The old Marwell Transit building will be considered for re-use by other departments such as Parks staff, or sold to the public.
Q. Why not just repair the existing buildings?
A. The issue is the existing buildings are well past their functional lives and are very costly to operate and repair. Things like roofs and boiler units could have major and costly failures at any time. For example, band-aid solutions have been used on the old Municipal Services Building for many years, and it’s commonly accepted that it’s falling apart. None of the old buildings still in use come close to meeting today’s energy efficiency standards.
Q. What are the benefits to taxpayers?
A. There are many benefits in terms of economics, efficiency and the environment:
- Reduced operating costs and elimination of high-priced lease agreements
- Subsidized infrastructure development through leveraging of federal contribution agreements from the Federal Gas Tax Fund
- Increase in operational productivity and efficiency – saving taxpayers’ dollars
- Enhanced energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact
- Elimination of old buildings that are long past their functional lives, and opening up those properties for new private development
- Provision of new facilities to accommodate the continued growth of Whitehorse
- Positive economic impact through job creation at a time it’s needed in construction and the trades
- The site of the old Municipal Services Building downtown is a prime location for private development and new revenue for the City
Q. How can the City afford this building?
- No tax increases are required to fund this project.
- Funding will come from Gas Tax, City Reserves (savings) and low-interest loans (financing).
- The City has been setting aside funds for this project in City reserves.
- The City would still have $10 million left in City reserves.
- The City's reserves are funds that have been allocated for specific uses, such as new infrastructure.
- There is a strong business case for this project that was developed by the City and a team of 8 consultants using a wide range of assessment tools, including lifecycle costing.
- Cost estimates are conservative and include a contingency; these estimates were developed by professionals who have expertise in costing these types of projects.
Q. How will this project save the City money?
- The 50-year lifecycle costs of maintaining the existing City buildings is $575 million.
- The 50-year lifecycle costs of the project is $367 million less than the cost of the existing buildings.
- Energy and operational efficiencies incorporated today will mean lower operating costs for the City and taxpayers in the future.
- The cost of not doing this project is high (i.e. a 23 per cent increase in taxes over 50 years to cover the rising operating costs for existing buildings).