Greater Sudbury city council will weigh in on a staff recommendation to transfer $464,000 from the capital holding reserve in order to start construction on a renovation at Tom Davies Square.
Described in a staff report headed to city council on Aug. 12 as a "one-stop shop" service area at Tom Davies Square, the total price tag for the renovation is estimated at $789,000, with construction expected to take place between December 2020 and April 2021.
The staff report indicates that the implementation of a new "one-stop shop" will provide for the following:
- A safe work space for staff and customers; designed with purpose to position the Organization well in response to COVID, and in the event of future pandemic service level planning
- The ability to better leverage capital funding already in place for security enhancements within the facility. Funds will support enhancements that address significant security gaps, while also providing high-level customer service.
- Renovation of a 3,800 sq. ft. space that provides the facility with an additional three larger meeting rooms and two designated interview/service areas; all supported by six service counters and three offices. This project will include new outward finishes, supported by HVAC, sprinkler system, surveillance and access systems upgrades.
- Cost avoidance related to AODA requirements for renovation of (11+) service counters within TDS to ensure they are accessible.
- With contingency built into the recommended project budget, per square foot construction cost estimate of $153.39 per sq. ft., aligns with industry averages. The competitive process may further produce savings in the budget.
- Provides asset renewal for a space to be the foundation for customer service at TDS and highlights this facility as the community’s most visible and interactive civic space.
Tom Davies Square was reopened on July 13 under some new operating guidelines, and the pandemic prompted councillors and staff to look into the opportunity to change the way the building operates on a permanent basis.
Many in-person services such as obtaining a building permit or marriage license have continued by appointment, with walk-in services available. Walk-in service is provided with the caveat that service may take longer as a result of appointments already booked. Day-to-day services such as tax bill payments or purchase of garbage bag tags, is available at the Citizen Service Centre counter.
"The new service model of main floor only service at TDS is the first phase of this project; the second phase recommends renovation and creation of a permanent TDS “One Stop Shop” front-counter," said the report.
"This project and associated service level aligns with the 2019-2027 Strategic Plan objective of Asset Management and Service Excellence, specifically for capital work to emphasize how new assets can improve service delivery and costs."
The report goes on to state that the project will assist the city in achieving their goals outline in their 2019-2022 Customer Service Strategy by creating simple, easy access to services for residents.
"It addresses long-standing security concerns for the facility and aligns with recommendations received through a third party security audit," said the report.
The recommended renovation contemplates six service counters within a space that is easily accessible for residents. It includes self-serve kiosks in anticipation to leverage online services into the future.
The space aligns with Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requirements for service counters, and includes break out space, personal or rotational office space (3) and breakout meeting rooms (5) that contemplate a wide variety of service activities.
"In consideration for the delivery of approximately 58 lines of service in the municipality, some which may not be public facing, it’s acknowledged that a resident who does not have intimate knowledge of the physical location of a service, or the steps required to complete a process, may attend numerous counters," said the report.
Whether to pay a ticket/taxes, obtain a permit/license, file a complaint, or obtain information, etc., the current system is siloed and presents great opportunity for improvement and added efficiency. It is anticipated that consolidating service counters to one area where most processes can now start or finish, will allow for an improvement in the delivery of customer service, which will be positively reflected in future Citizen Satisfaction Surveys."
Full report can be found here.