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

West Shore resident, local officer encourages women to take control of their safety

Kris Greffard is posting short videos with safety tips for women using local trails and parks

Police and Indigenous communities pull together in 10-day canoe journey

Victoria Police Department, Ministry of Children and Family Development took part in Pulling Together Canoe Journey

Point Ellice House exhibit offers new lens into colonial history

The new ‘Politics of luxury’ display studies the wealthy O’Reilly family from several angles

Nearly a dozen coonhound puppies and their mother to reunite at Saanich park

Dogs’ former foster family initiated one-year reunion plans

Trio brings roller skating fever to Greater Victoria

Roller Skate Victoria offers workshops, summer camps and more

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

POLL: Do you carry reusable shopping bags?

While a court ruling determined the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Most Read