Picton, ON – County Council returned to holding its meetings at Shire Hall last night, marking the official completion of the renovation project.
Built in 1874, Shire Hall had not seen any significant improvements since the early 1980s. Council Chambers was last updated in the late 1970s. Upgrades to the Council Chambers will ensure the public has more and better opportunities to engage with Council.
The audio-visual system was upgraded significantly, including new presentation displays, improved sound system with acoustic panels throughout, and new cameras. Improved wireless internet in the Council Chamber will ensure hybrid meetings can function seamlessly, improving accessibility for the public to watch and/or participate remotely.
The project contractor used custom millwork to build the desks where Council sits. The original staircase was reworked to meet current building standards. Existing elements, such as the audience benches and chairs, were re-used and/or re-purposed wherever possible. Colours and textures were selected to signify the natural beauty of Prince Edward County, including blues to represent abundance of water, grays to represent sand and stone, and natural tones to represent woodland.
While the building was closed, upgrades were done to the rest of Shire Hall to refresh the space and also deal with building code and accessibility issues given the age of the building, including new flooring throughout, restoration of the original terrazzo in the building’s foyer, replacing the railing and adjusting the stair height, updated lighting, painting and re-configuring work spaces to meet today’s standards.
The renovation project was made possible in part by $159,339 in funding from the Government of Canada and $39,835 from the Government of Ontario as part of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) COVID-19 Resilience funding stream. The County used $60,000 from the Province of Ontario’s Municipal Modernization Fund to support technological upgrades in the Council Chamber. The County contributed $150,000 through the 2021 capital budget and the municipal reserves.
Shire Hall re-opened to the public on Tuesday, April 18. The building is open to the public Monday – Friday, 8.30 am to 5 pm for the following services: Customer Service, Finance/Tax Office. Clerk’s Office services — marriage licences, commissioner of oath, liquour and lottery licensing services — continue to be offered by appointment. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 613.476.2148 extension 1020 to make an appointment.
With improvements to the Chambers and building now complete, the municipality will turn its attention in future years to renovating the accessible entrance and washrooms on the main level of Shire Hall. Staff are seeking external funding sources before starting on that work.
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For media inquiries, please contact Mark Kerr, Communications and Consultation Supervisor, at 613.476.2148 ext. 1009 or by email at email@example.com
“We are thrilled to return to Shire Hall, the widely recognized home of local government in Prince Edward County. The renovations strike a balance between honouring the history and tradition of the Council Chambers while also making the space more accessible and inviting for the public we serve.” Steve Ferguson, Mayor, County of Prince Edward
“Upgrading, modernizing and creating accessible public infrastructure is vital for the well-being of residents across Canada. The renovation of the Prince Edward County Council Chambers will provide residents with an improved and more accessible municipal building they can enjoy for years to come.” Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
“Supporting the rehabilitation of municipal infrastructure is critical to building a stronger Ontario and ensuring our public buildings are up to today’s standards. The newly renovated Council Chambers is now equipped with the latest technologies to improve local services for people, families and businesses throughout the County of Prince Edward, while also creating a more modern work environment for staff.” Kinga Surma, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure