Located in the Canadian Province of Ontario, Dufferin County and its composite of eight municipalities can be found lodged upon the loftiest of area plateaus located some 100 kilometers northwest of Toronto. County leaders here have also elevated standards in the improving of infrastructure, completing projects which ultimately help improve the quality of life for area residents. In particular, the Building Department of the Corporation of the County of Dufferin has been involved in various projects to build, renovate and maintain the infrastructure of the County, improving not only the standard of living but also promoting economic growth. As Steven Piercey, the Facilities Manager at The Corporation of the County of Dufferin puts it, “We live in this community and that’s why it is important to see its growth for not only our neighbors and friends, but also for us. Building and maintaining structures which will not only last, but be remembered amongst our future generations is one of the many things we do here.”
Orangeville, the largest town of Dufferin County is the home to 27,975 people with retail, commercial, manufacturing and construction businesses. The County is also involved the improvement of the community through construction of social housing, hospitals, community centers, emergency facility’s and so on. Michael A. Giles, Chief Building Official, also part of the Building Department says, “I have been in the construction industry for about thirty years, taking on projects which will help improve the standards here at Dufferin. We have always kept long term goals in mind when it comes to improving the structures of the County.”
One of the current projects in which Michael and Steven are involved is the building of an eco-friendly Multi Residential building with 30 units. The building located at 40 Lawrence Ave is being promoted as one of the most energy efficient and environmental friendly projects in Dufferin. The facility is meant to support senior citizens who face unemployment, mental disorders or financial troubles through various programs, including subsidization of the rent. Michael adds, “There is a large demand for social housing with a waiting list up to five years for a single unit. Fortunately with available funding we have succeeded in undertaking this project.”
Dufferin County also has not held back in utilizing the best quality materials in the building of facilities. This includes solar panels on the roof which preheat water before entering into household appliances and installation of excellent insulation for the floors and walls. The units also has geo thermal heating which means that if a window is open in the unit, the heating or cooling system will shut down automatically. Through such means, the units will conserve energy.
Besides just the materials, the housing design was also given a lot of consideration. The Seniors Building has a Victorian feel to it in order to blend well with the surroundings of Dufferin.
Another project completed by the County of Dufferin was the community service centre, W & M Edelbrock Centre. Previously a bowling alley, this particular property was gifted to Dufferin by Wilhelm Edelbrock and is now an area with a collection of social services such as Early Years Centre, Employment Resource Centre and social housing. Michael says, “The idea here is to service our community to best of our abilities so instead of sending people around town for various services, we have created a space where all these services are available under one roof.” Steven goes on to add, “When different agencies with similar clients are under one roof such as in Edelbrock Centre, we experience the effect of a warm transfer which benefits all services and is cohesive in nature.”
Other notable projects include the renovation of the Courthouse in the County and the construction of ambulance stations. The Courthouse, which was initially built in 1881 and has great historical significance, was renovated by Dufferin and now imparts a more contemporary feel. A sally port was also included for easy transfer of prisoner’s therefore increasing the security of the area. Setting this project apart was funding from the Federal and Provincial Governments for a municipal building. Michael goes to explain, “There was a lot of pressure as projects need to be approved by the provincial government and a lot of time was spent on ensuring the quality and cost of this facility. One of our milestones for this project was achieving unbelievable low utility costs.”
Making the Right Choices
Quality is evidenced in each aspect of the infrastructure upgrades. As Michael explains, “It is the little details we think of which benefit us long term, starting right from the initial design to the completion of the construction. We are thoroughly involved in each step and keep adding little touches which improve the performance of the buildings.”
Since Dufferin builds facilities which are meant to last for years to come, they put huge emphasis on maintenance of these facilities. Therefore, materials used during construction are of quality to ensure longevity of buildings and improve maintenance. Products which are easily replaceable are avoided and replaced by ones with longer lasting lives. Environmental friendly products such as LED lights in the Courthouse were also implemented to reduce energy consumption of the facility.
Taking such measures has not been ignored by others as Dufferin facilities are regularly audited. Recent evaluations of the facilities revealed that the buildings were energy efficient and didn’t need any further changes. Dufferin facilities also ranked high on energy benchmarks. As Steven states again, “Our constant involvement is the reason we experience success. We don’t mind investing in our facilities if it means long lasting results.”
Michael and Steven are also quick to give credit to parties involved in making these projects successful such as the County Council and Parkin Architects. Michael concludes, “The County Council gave us the confidence to go ahead with these projects and the Parkin Architects understood our vision for the facilities. With support and hard work, today people can see the results in the form of our buildings.”
For more information, please visit their website at: Dufferin County
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