In this December 2011 photo, the closed Brandon Inn is shown on Ninth Street at Princess Avenue.
Between asbestos removal and the demolition contract, the total cost of levelling the former Brandon Inn site at the corner of Ninth Street and Princess Avenue will top $1 million.
The city paid roughly $860,000 to take the hazardous materials out of the building, seal it in bags and send them to the landfill for safe disposal.
Ted Snure, the city’s general manager of development services, said the removal of the hazardous material was completed last December.
"All of the asbestos materials and any of the hazardous materials that had been identified in the pre-assessment has been (taken out)," Snure said.
The original cost was estimated at $322,000. However, more hazardous materials were found during the removal process. As the contractor took out the hazardous materials, false floors were found, where asbestos tile flooring lay underneath the visible floor. Lead ceiling materials were found hidden away for years behind other layers of decor. Asbestos wall finishes were also located, hidden in the walls.
Snure said the only place in the building that still has any hazardous materials is in the roof, where there is asbestos in the tar paper.
City council approved a recommendation from the engineering department this week to award Rakowski Cartage & Wrecking Ltd. the demolition contract at a cost of $269,000.
As part of the contract, the Brandon Inn will be demolished for $254,000 and the former Brandon Real Estate Board building will be levelled for $15,000. Renaissance Brandon is providing $15,000 for the project.
The total contract value, including GST, is $282,000. The city requires the work to be complete by April 26.
The demolition will not include the existing barber shop — Brandon Mayor Shari Decter Hirst says the owner intends to stay at the site.
"It’s private property and we’ve been working closely with the owner of that property to ensure that the risk associated with knocking down the building is mitigated as much as possible," Decter Hirst said.
After the demolition, however, Decter Hirst says the soil on the properties will need to be tested before the ground is seeded into grass. Though preliminary tests have not shown any particular environmental hazards, the mayor says it’s the city’s responsibility to ensure the site is tested before any development takes place.
"We know there are some environmental issues in the soil that we want to confirm the scope of," Decter Hirst said Wednesday. "We’ve done a little bit of soil testing, but it just made sense to do it after the buildings were done to finish that up."
Though the timeline is not set in stone, Decter Hirst expects grass could be growing on the site by this summer. The property will double as greenspace until a plan is approved for the site and a developer chosen.
What that plan will be, however, is unknown, though Decter Hirst says it must complement the concept of an entertainment district for Brandon’s downtown.
Even before the demolition process begins, she says developers have been contacting the city with potential ideas, though she declined to be more specific than stating that many of the interested parties were from "out of Brandon."
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 7, 2013