City staff support call for asbestos crackdown

City officials and at least one building contractor are supporting a call by Ward 9 councillor Gian-Carlo Carra to make asbestos reporting and remediation compulsory at demolition sites.

Calgary's top building inspector says voluntary disclosure not effective

Calgary's head of building inspections, Marco Civitarese, says not everyone plays by the rules. (CBC)

Calgary's chief building inspector says tighter rules are needed to ensure the presence of asbestos in buildings being demolished is reported. At least one contractor in the city agrees.

Under current rules, property owners or contractors simply have to check a form indicating asbestos has been cleaned up or is not present at the site. Marco Citaverese, chief building inspector for the city of Calgary, said not everyone is playing by the rules.

"The failure to notify is an infraction of the building code and that's what's important to understand," he said. "That failure is leading to some of the concerns in the neighbourhoods." 

Raj Gosal​ is a contractor who makes his living getting rid of asbestos. When asbestos abatement is involved, the cost of demolition goes up.

Calgary contractor Raj Gosal says some unscrupulous property owners, contractors and builders do not disclose the presence of asbestos in a property slated for demolition. (CBC)

"The pricing for this can range anywhere from $4,000 to $25,000,"  said Gosal. 

He said that explains why some unscrupulous property owners, contractors and builders decide not to disclose the presence of asbestos in a property slated for demolition.

Complaints from constituents about the possible presence of asbestos at a construction site in Bridgeland prompted Ward 9 city councillor Gian-CarloCarra to ask the city to tighten the rules.

Carra is asking that city inspectors be present at demolition sites and he also wants to see action if an infraction puts the health and safety of workers at risk.

Contractor Raj Gosal agrees.

"I think the city should come in and look at the work," he said." It's a [cancer] causing material and there's lots of people that live in the city and I don't think anybody should be exposed to it."

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