Comment 90882

By Noted (anonymous) | Posted August 14, 2013 at 10:49:37 in reply to Comment 90876

The City and Province can share credit on the Balfour file.

"In the late evening of April 16, 2008, the building located at 15-21 King William Street, known as the Balfour Building, experienced a partial building collapse in the rear, upper portions of the building. A secondary collapse of the roof occurred on the morning of April 17, 2008, which, in addition to causing extensive interior damage, also caused the 4th floor of the front façade to lean slightly inwards. At approximately 3:00 p.m. on April 19, 2008, while the demolition excavator was pulling back debris, a third collapse occurred which caused the 3rd and 4th floors of the front façade to bulge or buckle. With
the concern of public safety, the contractor shortly thereafter undertook a somewhat controlled collapse razing the front façade....The property at 15-21 King William Street containing the (former) Balfour Building is not designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. It is a listed property, that is listed on the City of Hamilton’s Inventory of Historical and / or Architectural Value.
Accordingly, alterations or demolition of buildings, on any part thereof, on this property, do not require a Heritage Permit, consultation with the Municipal Heritage Committee or Council approval....The Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) is the agency that reviews and approves the contractor’s demolition plan / demolition methodology.... When the façade bulged in the afternoon of April 19, 2008, the decision to raze it was that of the demolition contractor having an overriding concern for safety of the workers and general public. It was unfortunate that the decorative lintels could not be salvaged from the wall as they had planned to, however, we are thankful that the collapse and demolition of the Balfour Building concluded with no apparent property damage to other buildings, with no environmental impact (air monitoring equipment was operational) and no personal injury.... As mentioned previously, this (former) building or any part of it was: • not designated under the Ontario Heritage Act;
• not approved for conservation as part of Council’s acceptance of the Provincial Facilitator’s Report in September of 2006; • not required to be retained as part of the demolition process (although the ornamental lintels were planned to be salvaged); • not issued a Stop Order by the Minister of Culture in respect to the demolition required by the CBO’s Emergency Order; • always planned to be demolished with this action referenced in any public presentations by LIUNA and staff during the meetings / considerations dealing with the City’s interest in leasing / purchasing the Lister Building; and, • referenced in the September 23, 2006 Heritage Report by Julian Smith and Clinton Brown (see Appendix E) as a building that “would not be an appropriate candidate for preservation, restoration or rehabilitation… as it would need to be in much better structural condition to be economically viable”. This Heritage Report did recommend that the “decorative stone elements of the façade be carefully removed and retained…..”. "

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