‘De­mo­li­tion by ne­glect’

Weather dam­age in­creases ur­gency for Grand Bank to tear down wors­en­ing Sea King build­ing

The Southern Gazette - - News - BY PAUL HERRIDGE GRAND BANK, N.L. paul.herridge@south­erngazette.ca

The fate of the Sea King build­ing in Grand Bank has been pretty much a fore­gone con­clu­sion for sev­eral years, Grand Bank Mayor Rex Matthews said.

Dam­age caused by re­cent high winds in the re­gion has fi­nally brought mat­ters to a de­fin­i­tive head, how­ever.

On Sun­day, Oct. 21, a piece of the build­ing fac­ing the wharf blew off. The area has since been se­cured and the town is ad­vis­ing the pub­lic to keep clear.

“It’s de­mo­li­tion by ne­glect, that’s how I would de­scribe it, but the fund­ing hasn’t been there for such a huge build­ing to in­vest into it and do the other projects that you need in your town,” Mayor Rex Matthews told The South­ern Gazette on Tues­day, Oct. 23.

The Sa­muel J. Har­ris Build­ing has two sec­tions, one of which un­til this past spring housed the Grand Bank Re­gional Theatre and an­other area that was for­merly the Sea King fish plant.

With con­cerns about the struc­ture mount­ing, on July 18, coun­cil passed a mo­tion to pro­ceed with the de­mo­li­tion of the Sea King sec­tion in a timely man­ner. Since then, the town has met with Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs and Environmen­t Min­is­ter An­drew Par­sons to dis­cuss po­ten­tial cost-shar­ing op­tions that might be avail­able.

The town has also sub­mit­ted a cap­i­tal works ap­pli­ca­tion with the prov­ince for 2019 to tear the struc­ture down.

Fund­ing to de­mol­ish a build­ing is hard to come by, how­ever, ac­cord­ing to Matthews, who said it’s pos­si­ble the town may have to pay for the job out of its own cof­fers.

That could be an ex­pen­sive propo­si­tion.

At the cur­rent rate of $90/ tonne at the Burin Penin­sula Re­gional Ser­vice Board’s waste fa­cil­ity, Matthews said the tip­ping fees alone would be in the neigh­bour­hood of $277,000.

That’s on top of the cost of tear­ing down the build­ing and trans­port­ing it to the site near Jean de Baie.

The con­di­tion of the his­toric water­front struc­ture has been steadily de­te­ri­o­rat­ing. The town com­mis­sioned an engi­neer­ing study on the build­ing some five years ago.

“You could read into it that the end of that build­ing was there then,” Matthews said.

Coun­cil is hop­ing to be able to save the theatre por­tion of the build­ing, but Matthews has pre­vi­ously told The South­ern Gazette that would be a “long shot.”

The mayor said the way for­ward re­mains un­clear at this time.

“We’re still work­ing on it with the provin­cial govern­ment and Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs and our MHA, but there’s no cer­tain path to what’s go­ing to hap­pen here yet,” he said.

Bear­ing the full brunt of the cost to de­mol­ish the build­ing for a small town like Grand Bank would be tough, he said.

“So we have to keep try­ing for a while and just make sure peo­ple stay away from the area and give us an op­por­tu­nity to keep work­ing and keep work­ing, but it’s a strug­gle.”


The area around the Sea King por­tion of the Sa­muel J. Har­ris Build­ing on Grand Bank’s water­front has been block­aded to ob­struct pub­lic ac­cess. The con­di­tion of the build­ing has been steadily de­te­ri­o­rat­ing, and on Sun­day, Oct. 21 high winds dam­aged the struc­ture fur­ther.

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