Ottawa

Demolition begins at Dunrobin Plaza, but future still unclear

Plaza was struck by tornado that touched down in the rural Ottawa community in September

Posted: December 09, 2018

Demolition crews began taking down the Dunrobin Plaza earlier this week. (Darren Major/CBC)

The demolition of the tornado-struck Dunrobin Plaza began on Wednesday, but there is still a big question mark surrounding when it will reopen.

Michael Fines, a co-owner of the well-known Dunrobin Meat and Grocery, said he was hoping for the demolition to be completed by Friday.

"It's taken this long for them just to start tearing this building down," he said.

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Fines said they hope to reopen within the next year, but when exactly is still unknown.

The plaza was struck by the tornado that touched down in the rural Ottawa community in September.

Blueprint Properties Inc. — the company responsible for the demolition — said they had to wait to get permits from the city in order to begin the work.

The city was initially unable to locate hydro meters on the property, according to the company's CEO Winston Ang.

Ang said his crews weren't allowed to begin the demolition until the meters were found, and then they had to wait for the city to remove them. Now that the meters have been taken out, Ang said the demolition will continue on Monday.

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"Everything is good to go, so by end of Monday, I think this building will be completely down."

Closed for the holidays

The plaza and the grocery store form a central hub in the community, particularly for local hunters like Leslie Szaraz.

"They cut all the deer up here for the hunters, and it's pretty hard to find people to cut our harvest," Szaraz said.

"It's sad to see it go down."

Co-owner of Dunrobin Meat and Grocery Michael Fines hopes the store will be able to reopen within the next year. (Darren Major/CBC)

Fines said the holiday season has always been one of the store's busiest times, so this year, he and his community will have to adapt.

"People called a week after [the tornado] wondering what they're going to do for Thanksgiving turkey," he said.

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"People had to go and adjust, and I'm sure they will for Christmas, too."

Fines said they hope the new plaza will be as similar to the old one as possible, and that it would ideally be ready to open before the 2019 holiday season.

Ang said his company is currently working on getting the necessary permits to reconstruct the plaza building but could not say when that work would begin.

"We're doing the drawings at the moment, and as soon as we get the permits, we'll be over there to get this thing back up again," Ang said.