CANMORE – It turns out that locating a server room serving an entire municipality between a public bathroom and the mechanical system room is not the safest location for a technology hub.
But, as Canmore’s elected officials found out earlier in September, it turns out moving the server room to higher ground is going to cost more than expected.
Council voted unanimously to increase the budget of the 2017 capital project from $200,000 to $300,000 after a presentation by manager of facilities Stephen Hanus.
“Ultimately, this project is designed to mitigate the risks of the current server room,” Hanus told council. “Its location on the main floor of the Civic Centre is vulnerable to water damage, both internally and externally.”
The adjacent rooms, he added, house the main water lines for the building and the sprinkler distribution system. As well, in January 2014, there was a failure in a water main in the nearby women’s washroom that led to significant damage throughout the main floor of the Civic Centre.
“The server is obviously an integral part of the organization,” Hanus said. “It is critical to our communications, our data and … the need to protect that is paramount.
“What we are bringing today with this project is to really mitigate those risks. We want to move the server to the second floor where it is away from internal water line risks and main floor flooding.”
The project was originally put out for tender in 2017, but results came in over budget. Re-tender of the project this year saw the same results, Hanus said. The result is a change in budget and slight scope changes, increasing the project cost by $100,000.
“We feel this project still has merit to the organization and the market has spoken twice now on the value of implementing this project,” he said.
Council had some questions around what would happen if the Civic Centre was flooded and the emergency operation centre, which would typically be in that facility, had to be moved.
“If this building was not used as an emergency operation centre during a crisis, is this the best location for that connection?” asked Councillor Vi Sandford.
Supervisor of information technology Allen Wingenbach indicated a portion of the server could be relocated to another facility to function as part of an emergency operations centre. It could be connected to a supernet connection in one of the Town’s other facilities and continue to function for municipal operations.
“If this building should become unusable, we have designed a plan to detach a rack and move it to another location within the town to hook it up to another supernet node and run our servers from that node and re-establish the emergency command centre in another facility,” Wingenbach said.
While Mayor John Borrowman supported the motion to use the general capital reserve to fund the increased budget, he noted that costing of capital budget items in the future might need to be better refined to meet council’s expectations.
“I think we have to do this work, but we certainly also have to become a little more aggressive, I suppose, in our funding planning for other capital projects in the future given that this is now the trend,” he said.