The Township of North Glengarry has acquired the Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group building, located at 3720 County Road 34 in Alexandria, for the new location of the township’s main office.
The purchase of the building will enable all of the township’s staff to be situated in one place. Currently, North Glengarry Township staff are located in multiple locations. Public Works, Community Services and Fire Department management staff are each located in separate buildings; with the Administration, Treasury and Building, Bylaw Planning Departments under one roof.
Residents seeking information or services from one or more departments often come to the main office and cannot access all the township services at one location. Additionally, the second floor of the current main office location is not accessible to residents who require services from the Building, Planning and By-law departments. As well, the council chambers for the township are located at the Sandfield Centre, which is not central to staff offices and requires setup and take down each meeting.
In the Fall of 2021, the township approached the Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group regarding the building on County Road 34, which had been unoccupied. Negotiations for the purchase of the building and discussions with North Glengarry Township council were had in late 2021. A price of $825,000 was agreed upon and the purchase agreement signed at the beginning of January.
“The Board of Directors and staff at Commonwell are pleased that the township will be utilizing our building for their new township office,” said Tim Shauf, President and CEO of Commonwell, “With the shift to more remote work due to the pandemic, we have adjusted our approach to providing insurance services, but continue to be active and committed to all of our current and future North Glengarry customers”.
North Glengarry Township acquired, through donation, the former Alexandria Moulding location at 95 Lochiel Street in Alexandria in 2016. The building has been used for storage over the last number of years, but no long-term plans for the site were in place.
The township was approached by a potential buyer in autumn of 2021. A price of $800,000 was negotiated and settled upon prior to the holidays, with the agreement signed early in January. The buyer, Minimax Express, will continue to operate the site as a storage facility. The funds from the sale of the 95 Lochiel building will be used to offset the purchase of the new office building on County Road 34.
“The new main office building is an excellent investment for the township to increase customer service by bringing all of our departments under one roof in a new accessible location”, said Mayor Jamie MacDonald, “The fact the purchase of the building could be accomplished with minimal impact to the taxpayers is quite an accomplishment.”
Although the sale of both buildings closes on May 31, the move to the new Township office will not occur until Summer of 2022. The public will be notified of the exact date of the new office opening once the date is known. With the movement of the staff from the Public Works administration building, located at 63 Kenyon Street West in Alexandria, the building will be vacant and therefore, will be sold once staff move to the new location. The Council chambers will be relocated to the new site, with a permanent setup and increased camera coverage for online meeting viewing.
“The 2019 Corporate Strategic Plan contains an objective of establishing a strong corporate environment of customer service”, says CAO Sarah Huskinson. “The move to the new location will allow all of the Township’s departments to be in one location, thereby increasing customer service to the taxpayers, as well as increasing staff cohesiveness, efficiency and cooperation amongst departments.”