Why does SaskPower need $143 million for renovations?
SaskPower had proposed to renovate its headquarters for $143 million. This proposal has raised some questions regarding its necessity.
“By renovating the building, we will extend the life expectancy of the building for another 30 plus years,” says Robert Watson, SaskPower president and CEO.
The building was built without light switches and electricity is an absolute necessity in today’s world. As such, it calls for a renovation. However, the project for which SaskPower is asking $143 million may include more than just essential changes.
The $143 million will be go towards several new projects. According to CBC News, $282,000 will be spent for a rooftop patio, which includes heaters, and $72,750 for stone floors. $65,628 is the calculated expense for the green living walls. $200,000 for kitchen equipment, $173,250 on metal cladding for the penthouse. $60,750 on an executive area, $20,000 for two electric car-charging stations, and $100,000 for a rainwater tank and piping.
“The majority of the work will be to the core infrastructure of the building – the mechanical and electrical systems, structure and building envelope, which requires a complete teardown of interior walls. When you add asbestos to the mix, this becomes more complicated and costly to make sure it’s removed safely,” says Watson.
The news of this exorbitant project broke outside of the SaskPower boardroom when the Canadian Federation of Taxpayers (CTF) asked for a copy of the project. The copy was issued to CTF through a Freedom of Information appeal. The minister in charge of SaskPower, Bill Boyd, was not aware of the full extent of the project until it came around the news.
In order to cover the cost of this pricey and project, the corporation attempted to hike power rates by 5 per cent for its consumers. However, cabinet ministers opposed this increase rate in power and dropped it back to 3 per cent.
The $143 million project is currently on hold, as SaskPower decision makers have not yet ran it through the provincial government for approval.
“Large projects like this take a long time to plan and execute. We will continue to gather information and plan for a head office renovation in the future. No construction will take place without going through the proper review and approval process,” Watson explained.
As it stands, there appear to be a legitimate need for renovation at the SaskPower HQ. The major point of contention is the $143 million price tag.