Ho­tel’s dam­aged wall means neigh­bour evac­u­a­tion

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - NEWS - BRUCE BELL bbell@postmedia.com

PRINCE ED­WARD COUNTY — A Pic­ton restau­rant and an apart­ment above it were evac­u­ated ear­lier this week af­ter struc­tural dam­age was found in a neigh­bour­ing ho­tel un­der­go­ing a mas­sive ren­o­va­tion.

Dam­age along the east wall and foun­da­tion of the Royal Ho­tel on the town’s Main Street was dis­cov­ered late Wed­nes­day, forc­ing Prince Ed­ward County of­fi­cials to is­sue an Un­safe Build­ing Or­der to the own­ers of Coach’s Bar and Grill to make sure the restau­rant and apart­ment re­main empty while the threat re­mains.

On Thurs­day morn­ing, bulging bricks were vis­i­ble along with a large crack. A framed win­dow ap­peared to have shifted sig­nif­i­cantly.

Prince Ed­ward County mayor Robert Quaiff said con­struc­tion work­ers heard and felt the wall set­tle and im­me­di­ately con­tacted Andy Har­ri­son, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s chief build­ing of­fi­cial. The site was cleared, se­cured and closed. A Stop Work Or­der has been is­sued by the Min­istry of Labour. Safe­guards are be­ing put in place to en­sure the eastern wall is se­cure.

Quaiff said a team of ex­perts was ex­pected to ar­rive be­fore the end of the day Wed­nes­day to as­sess the dam­age and se­cure the wall.

“At this point we don’t know how long (Coach’s) will have to stay closed or when the ten­ant will be able to re­turn to the apart­ment up­stairs,” he said. “It’s not ideal for any­one, but we have to make sure there is no chance that wall can col­lapse to­ward them. We should have a bet­ter idea once the ex­perts have had a chance to in­spect the dam­age and make a rec­om­men­da­tion on how to cor­rect it.”

The ho­tel has been un­der con­struc­tion since 2015 af­ter be­ing pur­chased by Greg Sor­bara, a former On­tario fi­nance min­is­ter.

The project has had much of the down­town com­mu­nity abuzz as Sor­bara has had crews work­ing dili­gently to re­store the 130-yearold ho­tel to its former grandeur.

This win­ter, a large crane was brought in to re­move shoring tow­ers and steel gird­ers were in­stalled. It is not known if the weight of the steel caused the dam­age to the wall.

So­bara was not avail­able for com­ment on Thurs­day but his of­fice did re­lease a state­ment, say­ing the former politi­cian’s team will be work­ing to se­cure the wall as soon as pos­si­ble.

“As you can imag­ine this is very up­set­ting,” Sor­bara wrote in the re­lease. “The safety of our con­struc­tion team and neigh­bours is para­mount. While it is too early to de­ter­mine the ex­act cause and the ex­tent of dam­age we are work­ing around the clock with the pro­fes­sion­als ex­am­in­ing the site to gain a full un­der­stand­ing of what hap­pened”.

BRUCE BELL/THE INTELLIGENCER

Struc­tural dam­age to the east wall and foun­da­tion of the Royal Ho­tel on Main Street in Pic­ton led to the evac­u­a­tion of a neigh­bour­ing restau­rant and an apart­ment above it.

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