Kitchener-Waterloo

Heritage group files court injunction to stop Preston Springs Hotel demolition

A Cambridge Heritage group has filed a court injunction to stop the demolition of the former Preston Springs Hotel. The decision to demolish the building was made to ensure public safety, says the City of Cambridge.

Contractor on location Tuesday, confirms City of Cambridge

Preston Springs Hotel, Cambridge Ont. A spokesperson for the City says the contractor has secured the site and once hazardous and salvage work has been completed the demolition process will start. (Maeve Doyle/CBC)

The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) has filed a court order to keep the City of Cambridge from demolishing the former Preston Springs Hotel.

But Karen Scott Booth, vice-president of the Cambridge and North Dumfries chapter, fears it may be too late as fencing was placed around the building Sunday and she said Tuesday the demolition crews were on site.

"[Demolition crews] actually are in the building now. I'm afraid of the damage that they're creating and the extent of the loss. There were items in there that still could have been conserved," Scott Booth told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo Tuesday morning. 

"The building is still under the protection of the Ontario Heritage Act. So they are beginning demolition on a protected property."

A spokesperson for the City of Cambridge confirmed Tuesday a contractor has secured the site and is in the process of removing hazardous materials as well as items considered to be of heritage value.

Once that work is completed over the next few days the demolition process will start, they said. 

Demolition order issued Christmas Eve

The city issued a news release on Thursday morning, Christmas Eve, indicating chief building official Dennis Purcell would exercise his authority under the Building Code Act and issue an Emergency Order to demolish the vacant building.

"Due to the unsafe condition of the structure, approaching winter weather, and the ongoing challenges of securing the property from trespassers, there is an immediate risk to the community," said Purcell.

"Unfortunately, it has now come to a point where the structure is unsound and a threat to public safety. Anyone entering the building, including emergency or fire officials, could be placed in peril. Frankly, this is not a risk I am willing to take."

The city said two independent engineering firms deemed the building to be in poor condition. Cambridge Fire Prevention also issued a Fire Order due to security breaches.

The former hotel has been vacant and closed to the public for the last 25 years.  

Scott Booth said the ACO had been working with the city over the past year to try to save the historic parts of the building and were coming up with their own plans on how to develop the site.

"We were working with the city in good faith," said Scott Booth.

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