The Council of the Township of Zorra at its August 17, 2022 regular meeting, approved a plan to construct a new Municipal Office and Child Care Facility (ZMCCC) on Brock Street in Thamesford. Construction is expected to commence in November and will take approximately 11 months. The total project cost is estimated to be $6.5 million and will be constructed by Paulsan Construction from Brantford.
The new ZMCCC will cost less over the next 30 years than the existing building, will use renewable energy, and provide 88 much needed childcare spaces.
This culminates a process that started in 2021 when Council began exploring options for renovating or replacing the Township Office. During a review of options, the necessity of a licensed childcare facility came to the forefront due to the needs of the community. Council examined the option of renovating a Township owned building on the former Maple Leaf Foods property or a greenfield build. In the end, the site on Brock Street was determined to be the most cost effective and efficient option.
The Township Council has made a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2040. The projected life span of the facility is over 50 years and will help the Township achieve its goal. The Township will also be price protected from energy and hydro price increases over the life of the building. The 19,760 ft2 building will be heated and cooled by renewable energy and will have a rooftop solar component. After one year of operation, the needs will be reviewed and the provision for additional rooftop solar to achieve full net zero energy use will be explored.
Mayor Marcus Ryan remarked that “Council remains focused on life-cycle costing for all municipal projects. The Zorra Municipal and Child Care Centre life-cycle costs over the course of 30 years will be less than that of the costs for the existing Municipal Office. And Council knows that substantial renovations will be required to address accessibility deficiencies.”
Ward 2 Councillor Katie Grigg noted that “I receive multiple calls a week from area parents seeking childcare in Thamesford. To me, the childcare component of this project was the primary factor in deciding to proceed. Young working parents struggling to find childcare will now be able have this provided in our community and all of Zorra benefits from this.” Ward 4 Councillor Paul Mitchell stated “the proceeds from the purchase and sale of Maple Leaf Foods made this project possible. Without the injection of $3 million of profits on the land sales, this was not achievable.” Councillors Ron Forbes and Steve MacDonald both commented “the sale of the former Thamesford Fire Station and the future sale of the existing Municipal Office will minimize debt loading and will benefit existing and future taxpayers.”
Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario, Zorra Township has a population of approximately 9,000 people in a rural/urban setting. The Township comprises several rural clusters and two serviced villages. Zorra’s vision is for a vibrant, prosperous, engaged and environmentally conscious community that evokes pride in residents for its accomplishments and continuing resilience as it forges the future.