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Hospital demo job with a big price tag gets underway in P.E.I.

Ian Harvey
Hospital demo job with a big price tag gets underway in P.E.I.

Demolition of a 1930s-era former hospital in Charlottetown comes with a higher price tag because of the hazardous materials used in its construction.

The Prince Edward Home contract-winning bidder was Kildare Construction, the same company which undertook the demolition of four buildings at Hillsboro Hospital in 2014 for $324,000.

The provincial government priced the Prince Edward Home contract at $3 million. Kildare bid $ $2,388,818 and was awarded the contract at the end of March.

Work has already started on the job, says P.E.I. director of public works and planning Alan Maynard, with the fencing being erected around the site as per the contract. Work is expected to finish by November of this year with the structure razed to ground level, the basement and foundations all removed along with all connecting infrastructure and the site graded and seeded.

There are also district heating systems to be capped off, as well as removal of the buried 50,000-litre fiberglass fuel oil tank at the east side the building which was drained around 2013.

The scope of work includes decommissioning of water and sanitary lines 10 feet in from the property line, removal of all concrete footings, foundation walls, floor slabs, membranes, interior and exterior stairs, sidewalks, retaining walls, fences, steps, decks, and ramps. Also, all asphalt pavement and concrete, driveways, walkways and structures are to be removed along with all mechanical components including all plumbing, heating, ventilation, associated controls and radon stacks.

“It’s going to be a park which will complement Victoria Park adjacent to it,” Maynard says.

The facility was first constructed as a hospital in 1933 and later became a nursing home. The building has been empty since 2015.

Going into the project, Maynard says officials knew demolition would be costly.

The two-storey main building is clad in red bricks. There’s an attached five storey structure where the hospital rooms were.

“Because of the era it was built in, we know there is asbestos there and other contaminants which add to the cost of demolition,” he says adding that dealing with hazardous materials (hazmat) is becoming more common as buildings of that era reach the end of their lifecycle.

“The hospital rooms are separate with separate systems and lots of asbestos,” said Maynard.

Also, an environmental report shows there are light ballasts with PCBs, mercury. Some surfaces have lead paint.

The demolition contract is one of the bigger ones issued in PEI, he says, and the hazmat has only added to the complexity. The province had wanted to demolish the structure but didn’t have money in its budget until recently.

The structure on North River Road at Brighton Road at Charlottetown Harbour is considered by locals to be a bit of an eyesore. But one report suggests there’s a carved stone at the entranceway which might be preserved and mounted in the new park as a monument to the healthcare professionals who worked there.

With the fencing up, the first stage will be abatement of hazmat where identified in the environmental report. Maynard doesn’t expect any issues with safe disposal of the materials.

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