Building concern closes Main Street
Stability of building triggered collapse concerns
A block of Main Street in Yarmouth was closed to traffic and pedestrians last week over concern of the stability of a building that is more than a century old. As the barricades went up the town said it didn’t know if the building may collapse, but it wasn’t taking any chances until it knew the extent of the situation.
“Safety first,” said Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood on Aug. 3 as the fire department and RCMP were on the scene blocking off access to the section of Main Street running between Central and Brown streets.
At the time Mayor Mood said the town didn’t know how much risk, if any, was posed by the building, but the town wanted to ensure it was proactive until a more thorough inspection of the building was carried out. Businesses in the closed section were told they had to stay closed.
Engineers, after this newspaper’s deadline, inspected the building. (Due to the civic holiday on Monday this newspaper had an earlier weekend deadline. For updates to this story visit our website www. thevanguard.ca.)
The mayor said last week the town’s inspector detected an issue that caused concern when he was inspecting the building. The building, which has been vacant for at least a couple of years, has been undergoing renovation work. The ground floor windows have been advertising that a new business is moving into the ground floor.
The town said it appeared there may have been some damage to the building as a result of the work being carried out. Mayor Mood said they don’t blame the owner of the building for the situation. She said the town is pleased to see work being done to a building that has been empty for years.
“We appreciate the owner doing all this work to the building,” she said. “But it is an old building.”
A date on the exterior of the building reads 1893.
This isn’t the first time this building has been on the town’s radar. The mayor said they hired engineers in the past to examine it when it was under different ownership. At the time it was deemed that the building posed no danger.
But given what happened 15 years ago alongside the building, Mayor Mood said the town didn’t want to take any chances. The mayor was referring to the collapse of the old Odeon theatre that happened in August 2002. That collapse had actually damaged the north wall of the building that is now under scrutiny.
As to how long the street would be blocked off, the mayor said it would be days.
“It could be a week,” she said on the day the barriers went up, saying the work and inspections that need to be carried out can’t be rushed.
“We completely understand the frustrations of people. But let’s be patient,” she said. “Safety first.”
Concerns over the stability of this building at 305 Main Street forced a closure of Main Street last week.
Barricades went up last Thursday around Main Street and section of the downtown to prevent public access close to a building that was cause for concern.