Demolition halted

Terry Roberts
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Company tearing down former superette failed to follow asbestos removal procedures

A demolition project at the corner of Mayor Avenue and Howley Avenue Extension in St. John's has once again been shut down by the province.

But the stop-work order is not related to an incident that took place at the site of the former Green's Superette on Monday, in which a portion of the building's roof and a cinder block wall fell onto several neighbouring properties, resulting in damage to two garden sheds and some fencing.

A pile of rubble is all that remains of Green's Superette on Mayor Avenue in St. John's. Further work on the site has been halted by Occupational Health and Safety officials over concerns with asbestos removal. - Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

A demolition project at the corner of Mayor Avenue and Howley Avenue Extension in St. John's has once again been shut down by the province.

But the stop-work order is not related to an incident that took place at the site of the former Green's Superette on Monday, in which a portion of the building's roof and a cinder block wall fell onto several neighbouring properties, resulting in damage to two garden sheds and some fencing.

"We issued the stop-work order because they were not following asbestos removal procedures," said a spokesperson for the occupational health and safety branch of the Department of Government Services.

Deer Park Contracting of Holyrood began demolishing the landmark building in the centre of the city late last year, and plans to construct a five-unit residential complex on the site.

But work was halted after asbestos was discovered.

Company owner Tony Lockyer said the original stop-work order was lifted a couple of weeks ago after an environmental engineering company was brought onboard.

Lockyer blamed the company he sub-contracted to tear down the building for violating the asbestos abatement regulations, which fall under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

"The excavator operator jumped the gun and didn't put the procedures in place he was supposed to with handling asbestos," Lockyer said.

Lockyer said he has been tending to an important family matter, which took him away from work for the last several days.

"I've been distracted. Other than that, we would be back on site today tearing it down," he added.

He said every effort will be made to stay within the regulations, and he expects work to resume very soon.

As for the damage to neighbouring properties, Lockyer promised to take care of it.

Taking matter seriously

"Obviously we're good corporate citizens and we take this very seriously. We're going to make sure that any damage to their property will be taken care of," he said.

Lockyer said the demolition was complicated by the tight quarters under which the excavator was working.

He said the properties are separated by inches, and the 25-foot high cinder block wall fell awkwardly.

He said the operator checked to make sure no one was in the area.

"It's hard to control a debris field like that when you're in such close quarters," he said.

Property owners in the area say they are happy to see the derelict building coming down, since it had become a hangout for young people and a fire hazard. Those affected by Monday's mishap say they also expect to be fully compensated for the damage to their properties.

"I'm not angry, but someone will have to fix it to my satisfaction. There's no sense getting angry," said one resident, who asked not to be named. A garden shed in the man's backyard was damaged by falling debris.

troberts@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Government Services

Geographic location: St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Neighbour
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Tony Lockyer said he was distracted. That's quite an excuse. Only 9 inches apart he says. But you took the contract knowing your company would have difficulty performing the work, and willingly and knowingly knew you were likely to beat up a few buildings around the demo site with falling cinder blocks. Cinder blocks my son ! What kind of half-a$$ operation are you ? You are not even quarter-a$$ in my books. You don't take those kind of chances to other's people's property. You don't take those kind of chances period. You didn't even let those people know when you were going to start the demolition, yesterday's paper printed that, so you had no idea who was or wasn't in those properties because you hadn't spoken to them. Maybe someone was in the shower when you rang a doorbell (if you rang one), or was asleep with earplugs in because they work nightshift. You need to give out notices with dates and times days in advance. Then you get on this paper and tell the big lie that you checked to make sure no one was in the area. Why don't you go to Taiwan and get lessons on how to tear down rickety old buildings with excavators just centimeters apart and not do any damage at all. I watched one done there and was amazed at the precision of execution. If you worked in Ontario, you wouldn't work in Ontario, and you'd be charged, but here in NL it's business as usual for unprofessionals like you. You got lucky you never killed someone this time.

  • Ed
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Satisfied DPC customer from NL or that is... Mr. Tony Lockyer. YOU are responsible for the sub-contractors. YOU made the decision to, and DIRECTED them as to what to do. YOU are in charge, YOU have the oversight. YOU are liable.

  • Bill
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    The building does not appear to have ben demolished in a logically fasion. The whole building was hauled down and pushed into a pile, contents and all. I have walked past the site many times and have seen coolers and freezers sticking out of the rubble. Was the refrigerants and oil removed from this equipment? I think there has been more than one enviromental rule broken here.

  • Jerome
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    I drive by this mess every day on my way to work. Mr. Lockyer is not clear himself on what is ocuring. Some months ago they knocked down the structure, leaving this cinder block structure standing / teetering ever since. It was a safety issue that was ignored - totally.

  • Satisfied DPC customer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    As Mr Lockyer stated, it was a SUB-CONTRACTOR hired to tear down the building. Not his company. So if anyone needed training it was not his company.

    I have had work done by DPC and it has been nothing but great. Just recently tried to contact them again to get a quote on a bathroom reno and was told Mr Lockyer is in the middle of a family emergency and will need to call me back. For your information Neighbour, his distraction is not an excuse and get your facts straight before accusing this man of lying. None of us know the whole story here.

  • Member of the 80%
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Those in the area should sue the pants off this guy. What about if you had a little kid breathing in asbestos?

  • Peace Pipe
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Asbestos will cause you no harm unless your job involves working with the substance in the friable form and you work at it for years. You could breath in the fibers for days, weeks, even months and never feel any harsh effects whatsoever for your entire life. Don't scare people like that, you don't know what your talking about.

  • Emanuel
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    this contractor subcontractor stuff is real bs, if you can't do the job then don't take it and sub it out, just walk away, otherwise you end up holding the bag for hiring people with poor credentials

  • Notta chance
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    But work was halted after asbestos was discovered.---------------Fellas!! You CAN'T be serious!!!??? AFTER you guys started to take it down????? God! I would have though you'd have done your homework and 'INSPECTED' the site FIRST!!!! Especially since the building is of '40-50's vintage....Well, as my dad would say 'LOOK before you leap!!'

  • HSE
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    As the PRIME CONTRACTOR Mr. Lockyer was negligent is his responsibility to ensure all parties working under his contract were in compliance. He needed to approve the method and process to be used as well as ensure that any party working on his behalf was in compliance with all applicable regulations and acts. Why is following the rules in this province such a hard things to do.

  • Neighbour
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Tony Lockyer said he was distracted. That's quite an excuse. Only 9 inches apart he says. But you took the contract knowing your company would have difficulty performing the work, and willingly and knowingly knew you were likely to beat up a few buildings around the demo site with falling cinder blocks. Cinder blocks my son ! What kind of half-a$$ operation are you ? You are not even quarter-a$$ in my books. You don't take those kind of chances to other's people's property. You don't take those kind of chances period. You didn't even let those people know when you were going to start the demolition, yesterday's paper printed that, so you had no idea who was or wasn't in those properties because you hadn't spoken to them. Maybe someone was in the shower when you rang a doorbell (if you rang one), or was asleep with earplugs in because they work nightshift. You need to give out notices with dates and times days in advance. Then you get on this paper and tell the big lie that you checked to make sure no one was in the area. Why don't you go to Taiwan and get lessons on how to tear down rickety old buildings with excavators just centimeters apart and not do any damage at all. I watched one done there and was amazed at the precision of execution. If you worked in Ontario, you wouldn't work in Ontario, and you'd be charged, but here in NL it's business as usual for unprofessionals like you. You got lucky you never killed someone this time.

  • Ed
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Satisfied DPC customer from NL or that is... Mr. Tony Lockyer. YOU are responsible for the sub-contractors. YOU made the decision to, and DIRECTED them as to what to do. YOU are in charge, YOU have the oversight. YOU are liable.

  • Bill
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    The building does not appear to have ben demolished in a logically fasion. The whole building was hauled down and pushed into a pile, contents and all. I have walked past the site many times and have seen coolers and freezers sticking out of the rubble. Was the refrigerants and oil removed from this equipment? I think there has been more than one enviromental rule broken here.

  • Jerome
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    I drive by this mess every day on my way to work. Mr. Lockyer is not clear himself on what is ocuring. Some months ago they knocked down the structure, leaving this cinder block structure standing / teetering ever since. It was a safety issue that was ignored - totally.

  • Satisfied DPC customer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    As Mr Lockyer stated, it was a SUB-CONTRACTOR hired to tear down the building. Not his company. So if anyone needed training it was not his company.

    I have had work done by DPC and it has been nothing but great. Just recently tried to contact them again to get a quote on a bathroom reno and was told Mr Lockyer is in the middle of a family emergency and will need to call me back. For your information Neighbour, his distraction is not an excuse and get your facts straight before accusing this man of lying. None of us know the whole story here.

  • Member of the 80%
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Those in the area should sue the pants off this guy. What about if you had a little kid breathing in asbestos?

  • Peace Pipe
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Asbestos will cause you no harm unless your job involves working with the substance in the friable form and you work at it for years. You could breath in the fibers for days, weeks, even months and never feel any harsh effects whatsoever for your entire life. Don't scare people like that, you don't know what your talking about.

  • Emanuel
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    this contractor subcontractor stuff is real bs, if you can't do the job then don't take it and sub it out, just walk away, otherwise you end up holding the bag for hiring people with poor credentials

  • Notta chance
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    But work was halted after asbestos was discovered.---------------Fellas!! You CAN'T be serious!!!??? AFTER you guys started to take it down????? God! I would have though you'd have done your homework and 'INSPECTED' the site FIRST!!!! Especially since the building is of '40-50's vintage....Well, as my dad would say 'LOOK before you leap!!'

  • HSE
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    As the PRIME CONTRACTOR Mr. Lockyer was negligent is his responsibility to ensure all parties working under his contract were in compliance. He needed to approve the method and process to be used as well as ensure that any party working on his behalf was in compliance with all applicable regulations and acts. Why is following the rules in this province such a hard things to do.