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Brick building safe from demolition

Renovation, not demolition, will be the fate of the former Cranbrook Waterworks/Electrical Building behind Cranbrook City Hall.  - Sally MacDonald photo
Renovation, not demolition, will be the fate of the former Cranbrook Waterworks/Electrical Building behind Cranbrook City Hall.
— image credit: Sally MacDonald photo

On Monday night, council rescinded the demolition order that hung over the brick building located behind city hall. The order would have once again taken effect in mid-August.

Council has also paved the way for the restoration to begin on the building, as it approved the issuance of a Heritage Alteration Permit and waved the fees associated with it.

The approval of the permit is based on work to stabilize the building to prevent further deterioration and to enable the future use of the building as outlined by the Cranbrook Heritage Association.

"This in essence allows the group to take some forward steps towards preserving the building without the threat of a demolition order," Mayor Wayne Stetski said at the Monday, July 14 council meeting.

He said he thought it was a positive step.

The Cranbrook Heritage Association estimates it will cost $40,000 to restore the brick building to a condition that would be suitable for storage use. Nelson Engineering Inc backed that figure.

It would, however, take additional funds to make the building suitable for public use.

So far, the volunteer organization has raised $13,265 towards that goal.

Of that, $9,479 is a grant from Columbia Basin Community Initiatives.

"The Cranbrook Heritage Association will restore the former Cranbrook Waterworks/Electrical Building, in the process making it structurally safe and secure," wrote Karen Crawford in the report provided to the city. "All repairs will be done in a manner that will maintain and preserve the original appearance of the building."

The restoration will include adding load bearing interior walls, replacing the roof, replacing windows and exterior doors with wood frame products. It will also include the repairing, repointing and infilling of the brick walls using original brick where possible, as well as replacing the steel overhead doors with new doors closer to the vintage nature of the building.

Crawford said the association decided to make its goal to stabilize the building and prevent further deterioration. She said they want to do a repair which would meet the requirements for eventual use of the structure.

She said it has been a challenge to raise funds for a building that has a demolition order on it and no end purpose clarified.

Coun. Gerry Warner said he had spoken to members of the fire department who had expressed interest in storing the antique fire engines there.

"They also indicated that a possible use of the building if the additional money was spent to bring it up to the point where the public could use it could be some kind of archives of the fire department," Warner said. "Apparently they have mementos and artifacts and whatnot that represent the history of this fire department in town."

Coun. Diana J Scott voted against the motion.

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