Greater Sudbury Transit and Fleet Centre Built to Last
The Greater Sudbury Transit and Fleet Centre is a central maintenance and repair depot for approximately 900 vehicles and equipment -- everything from ambulances and fire trucks to snowplows, transit buses and ice resurfacing machines – essential to the delivery of municipal services. It's also the main depot for Greater Sudbury Transit. All transit buses start and end their routes from this facility.
The new centre combines mechanics and equipment from five repair and maintenance depots in Capreol, Chelmsford, Lively and Sudbury, in addition to the Greater Sudbury Transit garage. It provides improved efficiencies for municipal operations and it has been built with future expansion in mind.
Greater Sudbury Council directed the municipality to proceed with the $4.9 million purchase of the former National Grocers distribution centre at 1160 Lorne Street in December, 2010. Estimated capital cost to renovate the 135,000 square foot facility was between $21.75 million and $23.5 million. Once the move to the new centre is 100 per cent complete, it is anticipated that actual cost for renovations will be in the low range of this estimate.
Municipal reserve funds and capital envelopes have contributed to the cost of the project. The remaining balance currently estimated at $14 million will be financed over 20 years through a combination of debt financing, capital envelopes, development charges, Provincial Gas Taxes and municipal reserve funds.
The City of Greater Sudbury inherited six vehicle repair and maintenance depots from its unique communities at amalgamation in 2001. It soon became apparent that the depots were too old and too small to adequately service the municipal fleet.
Six geographically dispersed locations required duplicates sets of equipment, tools and fluids. Major renovations were required for improved health and safety and for the provision of specialized equipment services, such as the maintenance and repair of fire trucks and hybrid transit vehicles.
A staff report in 2008 determined that expanding and updating the existing depots would be a poor investment for the municipality. Since amalgamation, Greater Sudbury has been working to consolidate service pockets inherited from individual communities into one.
The staff report recommended a central garage of approximately 135,000 square feet to maximize opportunities to maintain and repair more municipal vehicles in-house. The former National Grocers distribution centre was a perfect match for square footage and acreage.
Due diligence confirmed the building floor, support columns and roof at 1160 Lorne Street are structurally sound. Ground conditions and air quality passed all legislated requirements. The renovation has proven less costly than new construction - in 2008 the estimated cost of building a new facility was $36 million – and was completed in less time.
Tenders for the building design were awarded in the spring of 2011. This was followed by a detailed design process which included extensive consultation with end users, structural, mechanical and civil engineers, cost estimators and more.
The budget for renovations was approved by Council in January 2013. Construction began in June 2013 for completion in late August of 2014.
The Transit and Fleet Centre can hold 70 transit buses – the current bus fleet is 60 - with room for articulated buses in the future. It is large enough to accommodate repairs and maintenance of all municipal vehicles and equipment, including snowplows and fire trucks.
Tools, parts and lubricants needed to repair and maintain municipal vehicles and equipment are available in one location, eliminating the need for stockrooms at six independent depots. The new centre has one parts and inventory room; mechanics share common equipment, fuel and fluid delivery systems in 28 repair bays, as well as welding, tire and body shops.
Mechanics and automotive specialists who previously worked Mondays to Fridays at the former depots will be available seven days a week at the new centre. During the winter months, mechanics will be available 24 hours, Mondays to Fridays, to repair and maintain the snow and ice fleet.
Every detail of building renovation was given careful attention -- from structural integrity to employee safety, future growth potential, energy savings and job efficiency – with evaluation from professional engineers, architects, contractors and employees.
A value engineering process during the design phase looked at reasonable payback, expected performance and functional benefit of all renovations. Combined, these measures ensure a quality working environment at an affordable cost that will serve the City of Greater Sudbury for many years to come.