Plans to expand the union’s banquet hall and build a student residence at the head office property in Oakville are moving ahead.

Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher reported at a general membership meeting of the union March 26 that the executive board has set a budget of $25 million for both projects.

He assured members that the projects will be completed without the union incurring any debt.

To fund the project, the union will take $12.5 million from its reserves and the rest will come from operating capital.

“I had promised during the last election that we would be prudent in expanding the banquet hall and building the new student residence and that the local would not be at any risk. I plan to deliver on that promise. We will enhance this property and make it more valuable for our members and we will do it without incurring any debt whatsoever.”

Gallagher said the banquet hall expansion will be started first, followed by construction of the student residence.

Construction on the banquet hall will begin early next year. The hall will be expanded to the east.

The new banquet hall will be about 70 per cent larger.

Gallagher said the union is seeking a zoning change for the student residence from the Town of Oakville.

The residence will have 42 rooms, a gym and a lounge. It will be built to the north of the existing training centre and incorporate elements of the former Elliott Hotel in Toronto, where the founding fathers of Local 793 met in 1919 to draft a letter requesting a charter for the union.

Gallagher noted the union recently built a 70-room residence at the OETIO in Morrisburg and did it all out of operating capital.

He said he will be looking for provincial and federal funding to help offset some of the cost of the projects.

At the meeting, Gallagher asked members to support the executive board decision to expand the banquet hall and build the residence because it benefits all members around the province and it’s the right thing to do.

Retired Local 793 member Mike Quinn moved a motion to support the executive board “so they have our total, uncommitted support.”

The motion passed unanimously.