Military buildings set for demolition this spring

  • Dec. 18, 2013 10:00 a.m.

The Greater Massett Development Corporation outlined a timetable for demolishing the former military buildings when it held its annual general meeting on Dec. 11. GMDC’s demolition project manager Bill Beamish has been on the job since early November, and told those attending that the asbestos abatement program is at an end, with a clearance certificate expected to be issued shortly. “They are satisfied the asbestos is out of the buildings, the hospital, the barracks, the mess and the rec centre,” Mr. Beamish said. He noted however, that there “still remains asbestos-containing pipe”. Mr. Beamish said demolition plans include getting bids in for the demolition by the end of January, with work expected to being in March. He said he is asking for two bids, the first for doing the project in one phase, the second in two phases, leaving the rec centre until the last, in case a community plan to save it materializes (see separate story). He said there are several issues with the demolition, including material salvage and an archaeological assessment. Since there is a lot of demolition set to go on the islands, including the old hospital in Queen Charlotte and the old air terminal in Masset, there’s pressure on the landfill site. “I am hoping that a lot of recycled materials will be available to the community,” Mr. Beamish said, “the military did not build lightly.” Because the area has been inhabited for so long, “archaeology comes into play”, Mr. Beamish said. That means the archaeology branch requires an assessment and a permit before the demolition can go ahead. That will take 8 to 10 weeks, and is consistent with the project’s schedule. “By the beginning of March, it is realistic to have a permit in place,” Mr. Beamish said. That would pave the way for demolition to start later that month and finish in the summer. He said the former administrative building is being evaluated, and may not be demolished. “There is a lot of value in that building,” he said, “it’s actually not a bad building.” The former CFS Masset was turned over to the Greater Massett Development Corporation when the military downsized in the 1990s. At that time, GMDC was given a $3 million ‘greenfield’ fund, to return the site into that state, if needed. The demolition is expected to be paid from that fund, which cannot be touched and which currently accounts for about 60 percent of GMDC’s assets.

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