COMOX, B.C. – Comox council members gave their stamp of approval on Wednesday, for a series of 2019 capital budget items, including renovations to the more than five-decade old town hall.

Among the items:

Fiber optics (network communications) – $350,000

According to a town document, the installation of a fiber optic network to connect the four Town of Comox sites (town hall, public works, fire hall, and community centre) would create one combined network, and allow for the centralization of data storage and data cannabis.

A centralized solution would also eliminate the need for duplicate servers and the associated maintenance, backup solutions, firewalls, and internet connections, the document notes.

Computer network and telephone upgrades – $160,000

The goal is to equip new leased office space with a multi-function printer and telephones. As well, there is an ongoing replacement of obsolete computer equipment on the municipal network.

Town Hall renovations – $140,000

The document says the Comox Town Hall “has outgrown itself and is bursting at the seams.”

The current town hall was built in the 1960s when the population of Comox was roughly 2,000 people. Today, the current population is nearing 15,000. The document said the current town hall “can no longer efficiently and effectively provide office for the financial staff required to service an increasing population.”

The current space crunch “needs to be alleviated as soon as possible, as it does not allow for a healthy and productive work environment,” according to the document.

There have been no significant renovations to the hall over the past 15 years.

Solutions include moving the accounting staff into new leased office space, renovating town hall office spaces, and relocating the town’s server room to Dusty’s den from town hall.

Fitness equipment (community centre) – $60,000

Asset management program (special project, requires resolution for grant) – $30,000

Point Holmes Pavilion (replacement) – $20,000

Ellis Street walkway (replacement) – $20,000

IT room – Dusty’s den – $20,000

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The town spends money under the second year of its five-year capital plan. But in order to spend on capital programs, staff is required to have council’s approval.