Saturday d-day for Hydro
Timaru’s 105-year-old Hydro Grand Hotel building, classed as a danger to the public, will be demolished on Saturday.
The disused three-storey building stands on the corner of Bay Hill Rd and Port Loop Rd, overlooking Caroline Bay.
Hydro owner Allan Booth, who intends to build a $42m hotel, apartment and office building complex on the site, said preparations for the demolition would begin before dawn.
Demolition would begin about 8am, and the building would probably be ‘‘levelled’’ by late afternoon, he said.
‘‘They’ll keep working Sunday,’’ Booth said.
Both roads would have one lane closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Heavy traffic heading to the port had been advised to use the southern entrance rather than Port Loop Rd, Booth said.
The green light was given for the demolition in October after the building was officially labelled ‘‘dangerous’’ by the Timaru District Council.
An independent commissioner varied the terms of Booth’s resource consent to allow him to knock it down ahead of time.
A damning fire report on the Hydro was released in September describing floors and staircases so damaged anyone walking on them would run the risk of them collapsing.
Retired fire risk management officer Kevin Collins said last year he had issued an internal memo telling them not to go into the building in the event of a fire.
‘‘This is only the third that I had issued in 45 years’ service,’’ Collins said.
Booth said he would either be on the site to watch the demolition on Saturday, or would be watching from his nearby office ‘‘with a few beers’’.
‘‘Of course I’m excited, I’ll be jumping up and down,’’ Booth said.
Demolition company Paul Smith Earthmoving would begin the first preparations, moving the barricades around the building, about 4am.
‘‘Then they’ll start preparing the outside of the building, laying shingle and sand down on the cobbles and the asphalt,’’ Booth said.
Material would be carted away from the site next week.
Surrounding businesses are not expected to be affected by the demolition, and Saikou Teppanyaki and Whisky bar owner Gavin Hamel said he would be open as usual on Saturday afternoon.
‘‘I know some people have expressed some interest in the demolition and when it’s occurring, possibly people who want a prime seat,’’ he said.
Under the terms of Booth’s resource consent several items from the hotel have been salvaged to be reused in the new development, but no further pieces of the hotel can be taken away.
Items of ‘‘high heritage value’’ that were rescued include a stairwell bollard and concertina steel lift doors. on