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Cranbrook brick building not yet free from demolition order

Despite all of the support and fundraising that's come about for the brick building behind Cranbrook City Hall, there's still a demolition order hanging over its head — set to again take effect Aug. 14, 2014.

At council on Monday, June 23, city staff put forward four options to council with regards to the brick building — A, B, C and D.

"Out of the options presented here, it seems to me the simplest one would be Option A," Mayor Wayne Stetski said. That option would again postpone the earliest demolition date to Jan. 15, 2015, to give the association the opportunity to reach a certain fundraising threshold.

Option B would rescind the March 18, 2013, resolution approving the demolition of the brick building, but leaves the original resolution from March 21, 2011 in place.  Option B would have to be done with Option C, which suspends the portion of the original resolution that deals with the demolition. That would stop demolition until a Heritage Altercation Permit is approved by council.

Option D is to wait until Aug. 14, 2014, the date when council can once again authorize staff to carry out the demolition.

Coun. Gerry Warner said according to the city staff report, there's been a misunderstanding in how much the Cranbrook Heritage Association has raised. He noted the report states the association has raised only $100 on top of the $9,000 grant from Columbia Basin Trust, but has likely raised much more.

CAO Wayne Staudt said the city is only speaking to the amount of money that has been raised through the city hall drop off point.

In the report, staff also uses the original estimate of $134,365 for restoration by KLB Engineering. City administration did not include a later report done by Nelson Engineering Inc for Ken Haberman. That report was much more barebones as to what the building would need to be structurally safe, rather than a functioning building, as it is in the prior report.

"I remember the report we had from the association suggested $40,000 to do what they intended to do, not the $134,000 that was in the original report," Mayor Wayne Stetski said.

CAO Staudt said that the higher cost amount is what it would take to get the building ready for some public use.

"If you want to take it to a point where it can have some use of it, it's in the $130,000 range," he said. "Any public use is going to require a much larger dollar investment."

Coun. Denise Pallesen said the association needs to have a threshold, or it could go on and on.

"I think that (a threshold of) $20,000 or $40,000 is too low.

"So $20,000 is raised. Now what? What if they are not able to raise any more money?" she said. "I'm thinking more $50,000 or $75,000 as a fundraising threshold."

Coun. Bob Whetham said that adapting the building for some other purpose is not an immediate concern, rather it is making it structurally sound in order the keep it in its current location.

"I think if we can find out what the threshold would be to make the building structurally safe ... that being the figure that we should be looking at, because I think that represents what the city's primary concern is," Whetham said.

The city will be meeting with the association to get the fundraising information and will bring another report to council on Aug. 12.

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