Council to vote on increasing budget for Condill demolition next Monday

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Fort St. John City Council will be voting on whether to approve increasing the budget to demolish the Condill Hotel by nearly $651,000 at next Monday’s Council meeting.

The City purchased the Condill last July from former owners Leo and Elaine Budnick for $870,000. In October the City awarded a tender for the hotel’s demolition to Prince George-based NAPP Enterprises for just over $457,000, with the total budget of acquiring and remediating the site for development set at $1.5 million.

In a report due to be presented at next Monday’s meeting, a recommendation is made that Council approve increasing the budget for the hotel’s acquisition and demolition by 650,981.10. The report states that despite three assessments prior to preparing the Request for Qualifications for the demolition, NAPP has discovered significant contamination concealed inside the building. City staff say that the demolition contractor has found multiple layers of flooring, multiple layers of roofing, multiple layers of wallboard, and up to 23,300 square feet of concealed asbestos drywall mud that has been used for patching.

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“The additional contamination and the actions required to appropriately manage and dispose of the contaminated materials under the provincial Hazardous Waste Regulation have created a significant change in the cost of the demolition.”

NAPP says that the extra contamination has increased the costs of demolition by $636,837.14, and added 14 weeks to the demolition schedule. If the recommendation passes, the new final budget for buying and demolishing the Condill would be $2,150,981.00.

In the report, City Manager Dianne Hunter says that while the increase in cost is significant, based on the City’s experience in acquiring the former Fort Hotel, she believes that the City would have had to deal with the extra costs in one way or another.

“If this property would have been purchased by a private individual and they had to incur these type of demolition costs, the potential of the property reverting to the City through tax sale would be high. If this happened, as it did with the Fort Hotel, then the City would be responsible for the demolition of the building. The difference between the City purchasing the building now and demolishing the building or acquiring it through tax sale in 3 to 5 years and then demolishing the building is the purchase cost.”

Hunter said that the City intends to recover the cost of purchasing the hotel by selling the three separate lots the building sits on to proceed with its Downtown Action Plan.

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