Highlands East is grappling with a more than $2.2 million price tag in recommended repairs to the 36 buildings it owns.

Council went through reviews of all of its facilities Nov 26 provided by consultant WalterFedy. The reviews highlighted several as being in poor condition and recommended a total of $2,221,506 worth of fixes for 2020.

Mayor Dave Burton said council would strive to meet the needs of the municipality.

“We need to return to sustainability and can the public afford it. Do we need all these assets?” Burton said. “Do we keep the status quo and allow all our assets to deteriorate?”

Council voted to receive the reviews as information. Deputy Mayor Cec Ryall said it is a lot to handle and council would need more direction from staff.

“Nothing mentioned was minor or secondary, it’s all big stuff,” Ryall said. “The problem is it’s all big stuff and we don’t have the ability to handle all of it at once.”

Chief administrative officer Shannon Hunter said if the municipality decides to keep all of its assets, it would need to borrow money or raise taxes.

The priciest building to repair is the Highland Grove fire hall, with WalterFedy recommending $567,500 for 2019 and 2020, including fixes to the exhaust systems, septic system and roofing. Coun. Cam McKenzie said not all of the costs are necessary as health and safety issues.

Responding to the $150,720 in repairs recommended for the Highway 28 fire hall, he said it would not make sense to spend too much on the repairs before deciding its future.

“We’re going to decide where the fire halls are going before we start spending money on something that, two years later, might not be in the system,” McKenzie said. “I’m not saying it’s not going to be a fire hall but I think that big decision has got to be (made).”

“This makes it look like this building has actually been ignored and not kept up over the years,” Coun. Suzanne Partridge said about Station 2.

Burton responded that they have spent a “fair bit” on the fire hall itself but did not offer specifics before press time.

Another building at issue is the Cardiff pool, which WalterFedy identified as needing significant upgrades. The consultant said ideally, a replacement would get built for $2.5 million. But the consultant recognized the high cost and suggested a new change room and mechanical room structure for $600,000. It also recommended $309,800 in repairs for the whole facility in 2020.

McKenzie said he would like to see grant funding to help with the cost.

“Are we going to spend $300,000 on something that really needs to be replaced?” McKenzie said. “I want to see it open this summer. I think once it closes, it’s gone.”

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