By David F. Rooney
Although City Councillors initially — when the issue first came up last July — liked the idea of fixing the leaky courthouse roof with real copper, they lost their appetite for that on Tuesday afternoon when the estimated cost hit almost half a million dollars. Now, they’ve approved an urgent hybrid repair program that combines real copper and a plastic polymer.
“The urgency is real,” Darren Komonoski, the Engineering and Public Works Department’s operations manager, told Council at its regular Tuesday afternoon meeting. “It’s an icon in our community.”
He told Councillors the 100-year-old building “is showing signs of leaking” and there is only a small window in time to repair deteriorated sections of the dome and roof. Repairs must be done while the climate is relatively dry and warm.
Back in July 2011 when issue was first raised at the Council table Councillors were leaning towards an all-copper solution.
At the time, it had budgeted $300,000 for the project and it put the roof repair job out to tender including both the installation of an elastomeric membrane and the copper replacement option. An elastomeric membrane is an acrylic membrane that would coat the existing copper roof, sealing the areas that are deteriorating. An elastomeric membrane would cost about $150,000 and would last about 20 years. A new copper roof was originally estimated to cost about $313,000 but would last at least 80 years, which was the length of time the original roof lasted before it required repairs in the 1990s. However, the actual cost of an all-copper roof is estimated to be between $313,000 and $650,000. The City has also received $50,000 towards this project from the Columbia Basin Trust.
Planning Director John Guenther said most of the roof is fine.
“We’re not changing the copper substrate,” he said. “Eighty per cent of the copper is not faulty.”
The failures are in some of the joints and lower portions of the roof. There may also be some wooden portions of the roof supports that are punky but he and Komonoski did not think that’s likely to be a major problem.