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The redevelopment of Lansdowne Park was underway on Thursday, but before demolition work can be done, hazardous materials have to be removed.
The city hasn't given a timeline for the demolition of the Coliseum building, but councillor Bob Monette said the city wants to move quickly.
"It's got asbestos in it. It's not a safe building to be in," said Monette.
The city plans to seal the building and vacuum any particulate out as they chip away at the Coliseum walls to keep the asbestos from circulating in the air.
Development consultant Graham Bird said residents should have no reason to worry.
"We'll cordon off the area, fence the building off, and keep everything inside so the asbestos can't get loose," said Bird. "And we're all going to be better off for getting this done."
Residents living nearby, however, expressed scepticism over the clean-up effort.
"It now falls to them to make sure they don't contaminate the neighbourhood," said Bryn Askew. "They say one thing they mean another. If they said good morning you couldn't trust them it was the morning."
Many residents also expressed concerns about noise and pollution during the work.
The Horticulture building, which is being moved to a new location east of its current resting site, will also need to have hazardous materials removed and the contaminated soil underneath removed.
Monette said the building is also in rough shape, and has for the last decade been used solely as a storage facility.
"It's very clear why we have to do it," said Monette. "It's a condemned building, with a lot of potential but a lot of work to be done."
The city estimates the cleanup of hazardous materials at $2.5 million.