Demolition damage

Terry Roberts
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Neighbouring properties feel the fallout as building dismantled; still they're glad to see it go

A landmark building in the centre of St. John's is being flattened to make way for a new residential development, and several adjoining property owners are getting more than a first-hand look at the demolition.

The old Green's Superette, located at the corner of Mayor Avenue and Howley Avenue Extension, is being turned into wooden splinters and crumbled cinder blocks by a menacing-looking excavator.

Above: The former Green's Superette on Mayor Avenue in St. John's is being demolished. A contractor plans to build a five-unit residential complex on the site. Below: This garden shed in the backyard of Joan McCue's property on Mayor Avenue was destroyed

A landmark building in the centre of St. John's is being flattened to make way for a new residential development, and several adjoining property owners are getting more than a first-hand look at the demolition.

The old Green's Superette, located at the corner of Mayor Avenue and Howley Avenue Extension, is being turned into wooden splinters and crumbled cinder blocks by a menacing-looking excavator.

The new owner of the property, Tony Lockyer of Deer Park Contracting, plans to construct a five-unit residential complex on the site.

Area residents are happy to see the old structure torn down, because it had become a hangout for teen-agers over the years, and there were fears there would be a fire in the abandoned building.

But the demolition hasn't gone exactly as planned.

A section of the warehouse roof and a portion of a cinder block wall fell onto three adjoining properties Monday, practically destroying one shed, damaging the roof of another and knocking two fences askew.

The damage seemed to be most severe in Joan McCue's backyard. The roof and two walls in her small wooden shed were wrecked, and a nearby tree was buckled under the weight of the warehouse roof.

A cinder block could be seen perched high in another tree.

McCue shudders to think what might have happened if she was in or near the shed. Two small children live next door, she added.

"It's very disturbing," McCue said. "I didn't sleep last night thinking about it."

McCue noticed the damage when she got home from work Monday evening. She said the shed was full of her belongings, including Christmas decorations, lawn-care items, golf clubs, patio furniture and more.

She spoke to a company official and he was very apologetic, she said.

McCue wants, and expects, full restitution for her losses.

She also wonders why she wasn't given any notice that the demolition was going to take place.

The close proximity of the properties makes demolition a tricky operation, said another neighbour, who asked not to be identified.

"I expected it," the man said.

He surveyed the damage Tuesday morning, pointing to a cinder block lodged in the roof of his shed. His fence was also damaged, along with a compost bin and a bicycle.

"I'm not angry, but someone will have to fix it to my satisfaction. There's no sense getting angry," he added.

He said he made contact with the company and was waiting for someone to visit.

Sharon Trenholm lives next to the demolition site on Howley Avenue Extension. Her property was not damaged, and she was happy to see the old building coming down.

She praised the company for meeting with her and explaining its plans.

"It's been a magnet for teens," she said, adding she's had to call the police on several occasions.

Several years ago, she said someone tried to light a fire at the building's entrance. Firefighters were quick to respond, she said. There have also been several break-ins at the building, and neighbours have complained about a growing litter problem.

"It's time for it to go," she said.

The family-owned business has been closed for nearly a decade, but was a fixture in the neighbourhood for several generations.

Lockyer was not available for comment Tuesday.

troberts@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Sounding
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Know all about the great response from the development gang at City Hall! They will have zero pity for your plight and will grant contractors and developers an eternity to work on renovation jobs to make it hell for neighbors and the area surrounding it. Live in a semi detached house? Then beware because up the street from us is the most pathetic renovation project ever. (Make work if you ask me) Almost a year on and they are still working at a snails pace (got your stamps yet b'ys?) driving the neighbors insane with their hammering etc. City Hall MUST impose tougher rules on house demolitions and renovations. Listening to hammering till 11 at night 7 days a week with no project time limits?

  • I.P.Freely
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Yes Kier, we should have made it into a museum, or maybe a shrine.LOL

  • Cornergirl
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    I too am waiting for a property attached to mine to be demolished, but I went to the City before the permit was issued & looked at the requirements for the demolition. I also consulted with my lawyer to find out my rights. The company should be bonded but it is up to the adjoining property owners to find that out. It's no good after the damage has been done. These demolitions should be done in a timely manner- this one has been idle for months.

  • Keir
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    It would have been nice to see more history of the supermarket and the family that owned it. I have fond memories of shopping at this store when I came to city more than a quarter of a century ago.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    This shop was there for at least 70 - 75 years. I've often heard my mother talk about how they sold shoe leather, cookies & flour and sugar etc in bulk. So far as I know, this store was in the Green family since the building was opened. The last Geen to run the store was Seaward and the store closed when he died. The back of the building was at one time a cold storage business. This building was started to be demolished just before Christmas and it should have been finished just after the New Year as when I saw it lask, it was nothing but a mess.

  • Get 'R
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Looks like yet another poorly planned and executed construction project in the province. Why has Occupational Health and Safety not put a stop work order in place till the contractor can prove the work will not cause additional damage to surrounding property? It never ceases to amaze me just how poorly planned anything is in this province anymore.

  • Sounding
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Know all about the great response from the development gang at City Hall! They will have zero pity for your plight and will grant contractors and developers an eternity to work on renovation jobs to make it hell for neighbors and the area surrounding it. Live in a semi detached house? Then beware because up the street from us is the most pathetic renovation project ever. (Make work if you ask me) Almost a year on and they are still working at a snails pace (got your stamps yet b'ys?) driving the neighbors insane with their hammering etc. City Hall MUST impose tougher rules on house demolitions and renovations. Listening to hammering till 11 at night 7 days a week with no project time limits?

  • I.P.Freely
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Yes Kier, we should have made it into a museum, or maybe a shrine.LOL

  • Cornergirl
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    I too am waiting for a property attached to mine to be demolished, but I went to the City before the permit was issued & looked at the requirements for the demolition. I also consulted with my lawyer to find out my rights. The company should be bonded but it is up to the adjoining property owners to find that out. It's no good after the damage has been done. These demolitions should be done in a timely manner- this one has been idle for months.

  • Keir
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    It would have been nice to see more history of the supermarket and the family that owned it. I have fond memories of shopping at this store when I came to city more than a quarter of a century ago.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    This shop was there for at least 70 - 75 years. I've often heard my mother talk about how they sold shoe leather, cookies & flour and sugar etc in bulk. So far as I know, this store was in the Green family since the building was opened. The last Geen to run the store was Seaward and the store closed when he died. The back of the building was at one time a cold storage business. This building was started to be demolished just before Christmas and it should have been finished just after the New Year as when I saw it lask, it was nothing but a mess.

  • Get 'R
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Looks like yet another poorly planned and executed construction project in the province. Why has Occupational Health and Safety not put a stop work order in place till the contractor can prove the work will not cause additional damage to surrounding property? It never ceases to amaze me just how poorly planned anything is in this province anymore.