Magee House proposal could reopen sidewalk
Hintonburg heritage building’s owner says he plans to brace damaged structure
There could be a workable plan to brace the crumpled Magee House and reopen the sidewalk in front of the heritage building in Hintonburg.
The city received an engineered plan late Thursday with details about how to reinforce the building at 1119 Wellington St. W., city media relations officer Ian Miller said Friday in a statement.
The proposal involves bracing the building, mostly from the inside, to stabilize what’s left of the structure. It would satisfy the city’s order to remedy an unsafe building and return the traffic flow and street parking back to normal. The plan would also allow the sidewalk to reopen rather than forcing people to scamper across the road mid-block or cross the street well in advance.
City engineers still need a few days to examine the plan.
The city said the property owner has until the end of the month to decide if he’ll go through with a bracing plan or demolish the building.
Property owner Ovidio Sbrissa said he plans to go through with the bracing, which he said was a “collaborative design effort” with his engineering consultant RJC Engineers.
“We’re going to be putting protection along the sidewalk for people to walk under,” Sbrissa said.
Sbrissa said some work could begin in a week, but noted the challenge with working in winter conditions. It would take about a month for the full bracing to be done, he said.
Sbrissa said he wants the bracing design to be esthetically pleasing for the community and incorporated into a redevelopment.
The western part of the stone building collapsed July 24. No one was inside the building at the time of the collapse and no one was hurt.
The city gave Magee House heritage protection in 1996. The building dates back to 1881.
The building has been frozen in time since the collapse last summer with a gaping hole exposing its innards.
Meanwhile, at another vacant heritage building, the city has fined the owner of Somerset House in Centretown for allowing the building to be exposed to the elements.
Jake Gravelle, program manager of bylaw enforcement, said the owner was charged with failing to comply with an order to enclose the exterior of the building to be weathertight and to restrict the entrance of unauthorized people.
The fine for failing to comply with the order is $550, including the victim surcharge.
Somerset House, at 352 Somerset St., at the corner of Bank Street, has been vacant since a partial collapse in 2007. The city last fall warned the property owner to make sure the building was properly protected from the winter elements.
Property owner Tony Shahrasebi said there was a small opening in an area protected by tarps and it was fixed immediately after being flagged by bylaw. He said the building is heated over the winter.
A section of the Magee House, a heritage building on Wellington Street West seen here after a recent snowfall, collapsed in July.