Esquimalt says goodbye to old municipal hall

Structure makes way for residential-commercial towers

A worker with H.L. Demolition and Waste Management keeps a watchful eye as an excavator chews through Esquimalt's old municipal hall Saturday morning.

A piece of Esquimalt’s past came down in a cloud of dust on Saturday morning.

The township’s mould- and asbestos-riddled former municipal hall, which has mostly sat unused since a new hall opened in 2003, was reduced to rubble by 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

“Come Monday, a few people will be a little surprised driving down Esquimalt Road,” said Jeff Miller, Esquimalt’s director of engineering and public works.

Behind him two excavators from H.L. Demolition and Waste Management chewed their way through the hall, built in 1929.

A few early risers witnessed the building come down, scheduled by the demolition company to happen on a weekend, likely to minimize impacts to pedestrian and vehicle traffic since Park Place was partially closed, Miller said.

“It’s like watching a bit of history,” said Esquimalt resident Amber Hemminger, who watched with her boss, Ray Kennedy, owner of nearby Bring & Buy Books.

The demolition tugged at Kennedy’s heartstrings.

“I was in the navy for 30 years so I’ve seen the building for that length of time, (and) it’s kind of sad to see it go,” Kennedy said. “It’s progress anyway. There’ll be something nice and new in there. It’ll be good.”

“It was kind of an eyesore,” Hemminger added.

They said they have no objections to the idea of residential-commercial towers going up in the municipal square. Council’s controversial plans to rezone the property for that use will be posed as a referendum question in the Nov. 19 municipal election.

“There’s no other land here, so they have to (build) up basically,” said Kennedy. “You can’t spread out in Esquimalt.”

The newly vacant lots will be sodded, while the public works site will be paved, said Miller, who will be developing cost estimates for a study examining the public works site, which may be contaminated with spilt oil and other liquids.

Saturday’s event is part of a larger $347,000 deconstruction package, which included the tear-down of the former public works buildings and a vacant home on Fraser Street, which may become an active seniors’ park.

A Lampson Street home near the baseball diamonds will be torn down by the end of August, and ideas for the site’s redevelopment so far include tennis or basketball courts, a playground expansion and a new ball diamond.

 

Did you know?

Construction of former township hall: 1929

Construction costs: $12,600

Also home to township’s police station: 1929-1979

 

 

Just Posted

VicPD officer answers the call from Canada Revenue Agency phone scammer

Officer politely asks questions, frustrating scammer

Body found in Central Saanich waste recycling facility deemed non-suspicious

Coroners Service investigating circumstances of death

West Shore RCMP spend four hours searching for roving hikers

RCMP say stay put once you’ve called for help and listen to instructions

Saanich mom on a bike turned away in Tim Hortons drive-thru

Car-free for years, Charity Millar ‘felt gross’ being denied service

Film crews in downtown Victoria producing upcoming TV series

‘Significant economic contributions to the area’ coming from production

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

B.C. man gets life with no parole until 2042 for murder of Belgian tourist near Boston Bar

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchres

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Port Alberni rallies for mill workers

Fundraisers helping ease the sting of five months without work

Island student lobbies school board for dress code consistency

Jaylene Kuo contacted school trustees after seeing dress guidelines at brother’s school

Bids down, costs up on Highway 1, B.C. independent contractors say

Rally protests NDP government’s union-only public construction

Members of little people community applaud change to drop ‘midget’ term

‘It’s not about sensitivity,’ says Allan Redford, the president of the Little People of Canada

Most Read