Oakville Town Hall to be rebuilt on current site

By

Published August 23, 2023 at 1:31 pm

Oakville Town Hall will be rebuilt in the near future, but it won’t be moving far from its existing location.

Last week, council voted to accept the recommendation of the municipality’s staff to rebuild the structure in a different spot at its current address (1225 Trafalgar Road). The recommendation was made after staff analyzed other potential sites for the town hall, including Centennial Square, Midtown and Uptown Core. 

The current structure, which dates back to the 1960s, will be moved to accommodate a future road planned for the town.

In a presentation to council, Kendall Wayow, Oakville’s director of facility services, noted that town hall is located in a prime transportation corridor that’s close to the Oakville GO station, the QEW and the Midtown Oakville urban growth centre–an area set to bring more housing and employment to the town. 

Wayow said a new road planned for the town will run parallel to Trafalgar Road, connecting White Oaks Boulevard and Midtown at the future extension of Cross Avenue. 

“The new road will run right through the existing town hall. This road is not yet in the 10-year forecast, but it’s an important access point to Midtown,” he told council.

A recent staff report said that with plans to build the new road through the current site in the late 2020s, a feasibility study to find a new site was conducted. It determined that the site at 1225 Trafalgar Road was suitable and eliminated the need to purchase new land.

To ensure that a new town hall is operational by the late 2020s, town staff recommended they be authorized to go ahead with the site analysis and the development of a blocking and stacking plan (a strategy that allocates space in the most efficient manner) in 2023/2024.

“The vision for the new town hall in Oakville is to create a future-proof, technologically advanced, and environmentally conscious facility that supports a hybrid work environment for 600 staff members,” said the staff report. 

“The town hall will prioritize accessibility, inclusivity, and smart technologies while aligning with Oakville’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The new town hall is recommended to be constructed on the existing town hall site, to the west of the future road construction.”

In his presentation, Wayow said the new town hall will be a “landmark structure that stands out as a civic symbol and contributes to the town’s identity” that could also feature public art installations. 

Wayow also said that keeping the town hall at its current address would allow it to remain on town-owned land somewhere familiar to residents. 

“The current site offers advantages in terms of convenience and accessibility for residents, members of council and staff,” he said, adding that keeping the building on the site will make the transition smoother and eliminate the need to incur significant acquisition- and construction-related costs. 

There are currently 450 town employees who work at the current building, meaning the new site will support a 25 per cent growth in staff.

While council voted in favour of the report, some councillors questioned whether other sites might not be better alternatives that deserve a second look.

Ward 1 Coun. Sean O’Meara asked why Centennial Park wasn’t considered a viable location since it’s also town-owned land. 

“I’d like to understand more about why we took Centennial Square out of the picture. I know the main reasons for here is we already own the land, but we own that land too,” he said, adding that it might be better to bring town hall to a place where residents are more likely to gather. 

Town chief administrative officer Jane Clohecy said that the site was deemed too small to accommodate both town hall and other cultural institutions planned for the area, including a park and theatre. 

“The size was one thing we ruled out for the Centennial Square location,” she said, adding that there were also concerns about traffic. 

Ward 1 Coun. Jonathan McNeice asked if Bronte Village was considered.

“This could be the type of catalyst project that could be mixed-use and have the parking structure we need combined with office space that would have the town hall,” he said, adding that the structure could function similarly to Burlington’s. 

Clohecy said staff hadn’t considered Bronte, as they consider Trafalgar the central spine within the town. 

Ward 5 Coun. Jeff Knoll said he was curious as to why the Uptown Core was eliminated as a possible site. 

“We happen to own a very large parcel of land right there, the old public works property. It’s a live area that would provide shopping and dining and all kinds of opportunities for staff. This seems like the perfect opportunity about to disappear,” he said. 

Clohecy said the site was considered inappropriate because it will be too small once housing is constructed. 

“We think [1225 Trafalgar Road] is a better site, centrally located, publicly owned and recognized as town hall for quite some time,” she said. 

Once completed, the new building will include meeting rooms, conference rooms and breakout areas. It will also incorporate ergonomic furniture and adjustable workstations.

There will also be smart technologies that will aim to optimize energy consumption, lighting, and HVAC systems.

Once conceptual design is completed, a presentation will be made to council for review and approval. 

Public consultation regarding the design will be conducted with an opportunity to provide input through public meetings, social media and stakeholder groups.

– With files from Gene Pereira

inhalton's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising