For a difference of $ 170,000, less than half the price city council spent at 89 Hudson Street, we could have a brand new downtown bus terminal.
That’s the determination of a 172-page report sent to council Monday night showing three options, including the move without public support to 111 Huron Street.
Just put the numbers like this:
- Renovate 111 Huron Street – $ 2.16 million (over 4,200 square feet)
- New terminal at Dennis Street – $ 2.33 million (3,300 square feet)
- Renovate the existing terminal – $ 972,000 (that would cost 100 square feet in the already tiny space)
If you notice, in the estimate for Huron Street, they’re projecting $ 225 / square foot. In the estimate for the new construction on Dennis Street, the number of square feet is not indicated. They estimated the new construction, with our rough calculations, at $ 325 / square foot. Is there really a $ 100 difference in the renovation to new costs per square foot?
You will also notice that a new building downtown is actually cheaper to build, the number that places it on the Huron Street option is $ 205,000 to remove the existing structure.
It’s no secret that the city’s position, especially at the bottom of this report, is to relocate the terminal. They say in a report to the council that it will save up to $ 2 million over the next 10 years.
The biggest savings would be “saving $ 105,000 per year in expenses for capital needs and ongoing maintenance,” according to the report.
The report fails to mention what the city is currently spending on maintaining the Huron Street site. However, this shows several problems with the existing structures at this location.
A line in fine print, which is not in the estimate of the new construction, but in the estimate of 111 Huron Street reads:
“THE COST ESTIMATE DOES NOT INCLUDE ANY COST ASSOCIATED WITH POTENTIAL STRUCTURAL IMPROVEMENTS IF NECESSARY. “
Does the city plan to use part of the ICIP grant money for a new bus terminal to repair the Bus Barn facility as well. A person with extensive knowledge of Bus Barns told SaultOnline that the situation in these buildings “is deteriorating rapidly”.
Has it always been the plan, to move the terminal, to use provincial funding to build a new terminal, but also to fix the existing problems with the building at 111 Huron Street?
The other major savings the city highlights for the bus station relocation are the projected fuel / time savings of $ 67,000 per year. They have already stated that this is what would be spared by drivers who would not have to take the buses from the depot to downtown and back.
Anyone who uses public transport or has tried to park at the GFL center during the week realizes that not all bus drivers park at the depot. The drivers park in the city center, get on the bus, make their trips and then return to their vehicles to return home. Buses and drivers do not return to the terminal after each trip, or at each shift change. Has this been taken into account by the city?
These are the main arguments put forward by the city for moving the terminal.
A third argument which affirms that the charging stations for electric buses would all be in the same place. However, with the time it takes to charge a bus, it doesn’t make much sense to put a charging station in the city center when electric buses in other municipalities are being charged overnight, and not in waiting to pick up passengers at a terminal.
Another argument put forward for moving the terminal is the safety of passengers and drivers.
How can the city be concerned about the safety of drivers and passengers at Queen and Dennis, but say it’s safe to bring downtown families to an $ 8.4 million plaza in Queen and Spring?
The report does not include any police statistics to support the claim that Huron Street is safer. SaultOnline has reviewed the archived stories and it’s safe to say that the two areas are pretty much the same in this regard.
The city must also have concerns about the security of the proposed new location, as Monday’s agenda is also a 3-year contract to be awarded to North East Regional Security Systems for $ 55,000 / year. This delay would also cover the move to Huron Street.
All of these arguments can be in vain. In the 2021 budget adopted by council, the capital expenditure plan for the Bus Barn location on Huron Street shows an investment of $ 2.1 million in 2023 for this property.
Coincidentally, the cost of relocating the terminal to the transit bus depot is estimated at $ 2.16 million. So, has the city been planning this move from the start and this is just due process that we see… just smoke and mirrors?
By the way, the budget line used to purchase Hudson Street also saw a significant budget increase the year before it was approved by council.
We are proud to be a publication that is the voice of the people. It has been made clear to us on our social media, in our comment sections and to our reporters that this is not what the people of this city want.
If the $ 2 million in savings is the reason some advisers are obsessed with making this change, which the Greyhounds, many local businesses and the general public have opposed, here’s something else that would cost that much over 10 years.
The proposed downtown plaza, which is awaiting final approval, has an estimated operating budget of $ 265,000 per year, or $ 2.65 million over the next 10 years.
Those familiar with the board expect the discussion on this topic to be lengthy at the Monday night board meeting. The meeting can be seen at 4:30 p.m. on SaultOnline / ONNTV or on our Facebook page.