Chet Greason email@example.com
The finance and labour relations subcommittee has discussed the possibility of removing the roof from the GTR shops at the Cooper site, but deferred a decision until after a report from Riversedge Developments is submitted by Jan. 20.
Before his retirement, Stratford's chief building official, Dave Carroll, retained engineering firm Read Jones Christoffersen to investigate concerns of debris blowing off the roof of the derelict structure.
The company's report offered two suggestions: to either have loose materials identified and removed as needed at a cost of $110,000, or to remove the roof in its entirety at a cost of $315,000.
Staff recommended the latter.
At the subcommittee meeting Dec. 16, CAO Ron Shaw noted that it would be the cladding and wood that would be removed, not the metal supports. He stressed that any sections that have been recommended for heritage designation pending a decision on the matter by council would not be removed.
However, Coun. Kerry McManus wondered whether removing the cladding would expose the potentially designated struts beneath, leading to them being damaged by the elements.
Director of Infrastructure and Development Services, Ed Dujlovic, confirmed that it would.
McManus then asked which Dujlovic thought was the greater risk - falling debris or damage to the building.
Dujlovic answered falling debris, and noted that, even if the building sees adaptive reuse, the old, decaying roof will still need to be removed.
Former site owner Lawrence Ryan addressed subcommittee prior to its decision and asked that Carroll’s replacement – who has yet to be hired - weigh in on the matter. He took issue with the report, saying no one went on the roof and that the photos included were of the burned portion on the building’s west side, therefore not indicative of the condition of the majority of the roof.
He argued that the quotes provided were overstated, and suggested council get a recommendation from a qualified roofing contractor. He once again made his case of having the property returned to him, saying, should it happen, “I want the roof decking intact.”
He agreed with the report’s first option: to inspect and remove only the portions that require it. Ryan then offered to complete an inspection and quote “at no cost to the city.”
“If you wish, my sons and I can carry out the repairs and removal.”
Coun. Brad Beatty passed a motion to accept staff’s recommendation and remove the roof, calling it unsafe.
But Coun. Kathy Vassilakos suggested waiting to see the proposal from Riversedge, reasoning that there’s no sense in the city spending money to remove the roof if a private developer is going to remove it anyway.
Subcommittee chair Tom Clifford agreed with Vassilakos, noting that if council decides to tear the building down (he stressed the “if”), it will be more expensive to tear it down in pieces as opposed to all at once.
“I’d be happier if we wait until the Riversedge report,” he said.
Beatty’s motion was then defeated and McManus introduced a new motion deferring the decision until January.
“I’m not sure if we should put all our hopes and dreams on this one company when the community’s at risk,” warned Beatty.
Regardless, the decision to defer passed 3-2, with Beatty and Coun. Frank Mark opposed.