Mayor Gene Sobolewski and town councillors, right to left, Ray Prevost, Lorna Storoschuk, Chad Colbourne, and Brian McEvoy cut the ribbon during the grand opening of Bonnyville Town Hall yesterday.
Bonnyville’s living room is officially open.
The Bonnyville Town Hall had their official grand opening yesterday inviting members of the public, M.D. of Bonnyville councillors, MLA David Hanson, and the building’s construction and architectural firm Genmec ACL and Manasc Isaac.
The initial visioning of the $9 million project began in 2014 with a few key features in mind, said assistant Chief Administrative Officer, Bill Rogers, including larger council chambers.
“It needed to be energy efficient, big enough to handle our needs for the next, hopefully, 75 years or more, which was how long we got out of the last building…and it had to be cost-effective,” said Rogers.
Then, the project went out to tender in 2016 to begin construction going to Genmec ACL.
“Council had a strong rider on the evaluations for proposed tenders, where you got more points for putting local people to work. It was the second-largest judging criteria. And so they actually had the largest local component criteria as well so that was a big plus,” he said.
“We were able to put over 20 local firms to work during a time of economic downturn and build a very cost-efficient facility.”
Some of the key highlights are the community room downstairs with a full-service kitchen and an attractive building that residents could be proud of.
The new building sits on the same lot as the previous Town Hall.
It was chosen to keep the vibrancy of downtown alive while being accessible to as many groups as possible, including seniors, and near other key services in Bonnyville.
Memories of the old building
Councillor Ray Prevost remembers the old building and all of the services that were included during the 70-plus years of its life, including the first library, volunteer fire department, and police.
“We had town police and their office was there and a couple of holding cells there and male-female holding cells were there as well,” said Prevost.
“Then, later on, was the fire department, so we had the fire trucks in that same town hall. And in 1967, we added the library. Our first library was in the old Town Hall. The library was part of the centennial project in 1967.”
While Prevost has a vast amount of experience in municipal politics, he has a memory of the old Town Hall and the town office that preceded that one.
“As a kid my bike got confiscated by the Town Constable which were the police back in those days. And they were working out of an office where Cedar Barn is today, back in the day. That was where the old Town Hall was as well,” said Prevost.
“When they built this one it was under construction and when I got my bike back at the end of the week I had to pick it up here.”