Calgary

City presses to demolish building that owner won't

Calgary's city council will be asked on Tuesday to approve paying for the demolition of a privately-owned apartment building in Kensington that was declared unsafe and unstable.

The seven-storey apartment building was evacuated after being declared unsafe in 2017

Kensington Manor was evacuated in November 2017 due to structural concerns. Now, the city will ask council to approve funds so it can be demolished. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

Calgary's city council will be asked on Tuesday to approve paying for the demolition of a privately-owned apartment building in Kensington that was declared unsafe and unstable.

In 2017, the seven-storey Kensington Manor, located at 321 10th St. N.W., was hastily evacuated after the city deemed it in danger of imminent collapse.

The 125 residents of the 57-unit building, and retail tenants on the main floor, were only given 15 minutes of notice to get out.

The building was temporarily shored up, but the city says it's not economically feasible to fix.

The city says it has tried working with the building's owner but communications have collapsed.

"We have the authority to demolish the building. What we need is a source of interim financing so that we can commence demolition actions," said Cliff de Jong, with the city.

The owner was served with an order to either fix or demolish the building by Jan. 30, 2019, but the owner requested an extension to that deadline and when the city denied it, the owner stopped cooperating. 

'Highly unusual and it's unfortunate'

The owner didn't pay an engineer and shoring and fencing contractor it had hired so they discontinued services, according to a report that will be delivered to a council committee on Tuesday.

The city is spending $18,000 per month to mitigate hazards and maintain safety for the empty building, to a total of $59,632 as of May 1.

The area's councillor says there's no time to waste.

"It's unprecedented for me and for most of the people working on this particular file so it's highly unusual and it's unfortunate," said Coun. Druh Farrell.

"It's been shored up with hundreds and hundreds of supports but it poses a risk to the public. It's been breached quite regularly now. The city has security going several times a night, they're constantly monitoring it, so there's a cost already that the city is bearing."

There's no estimate yet on the cost of demolition as the work would need to be put out for bids. The city estimates that demolition and asbestos removal could begin in August, and be completed in spring of 2020.

The city will recover its spending on Kensington Manor by adding its monthly costs as well as the cost of the demolition onto the tax bill for the property. 

With files from Scott Dippel

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.