This weekend is the last chance for residents to say goodbye to Sidney’s former fire hall as the process to raze it is already underway.
Friday morning, a letter from the Town of Sidney was sent to residents and businesses near the site on Third Street, giving notice of work to start later that morning. A permit was issued early that morning and minor items were being removed by the afternoon.
The permit is for Fire Hall Development Ltd. to tear down the buildings on 9837 and 9821 Third St. and 2477 Sidney Ave.
The majority of the demolition work is due to start Monday, Aug. 19.
Residents have been warned to expect noise and mild traffic inconvenience Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“During the demolition and construction process please obey the traffic control personnel at all times; they are there for your safety. As a reminder, please keep vehicles, children and pets away from construction operations,” the letter states.
Fire Hall Development Ltd. plans to build a six storey building on the site. It will include 22,000 sq. ft. of ground floor commercial space and 82 condos. An additional three-storey structure facing Second Street will be for office space. Twenty Modo car share memberships are also part of the deal. The September 2018, sale by the former council, led by Steve Price, courted controversy at the time, including the fiery final vote, opposed by many in the town, which passed 4–3. The sale brought in approximately $9.9 million to Town coffers, but opponents were not convinced that a development on such a large scale is appropriate for the site.
The current Mayor, Cliff McNeil–Smith, defeated Price 3,740 to 929 in the municipal election barely a month later, winning 80 per cent of the vote and making public consultation on big projects a key part of his manifesto. Under his leadership, the Town entered into a process, in February 2019, seeking to strike a deal with the developer to reduce the scale and massing of the building, which would necessitate the renegotiation of the purchase agreement. Negotiations ultimately foundered and work on the project, reflecting the original agreement, is now going ahead.