demolition

Building demolition to “help with accommodations” in Amherstburg

By Ron Giofu

 

Town council officially gave the go-ahead to demolish the building at 305 Dalhousie St. but it appears that the reason behind it is substantial.

The building, located at the corner of Gore St. and Dalhousie St., will be brought down with plans for the property, according to CAO John Miceli, aligning with the town’s strategic plan. Miceli indicated that the plans “will help with accommodations” in Amherstburg.

When speaking to the media after the meeting, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo didn’t use the word “hotel” but indicated that the town is “extremely close” to making a “major announcement” about plans for the site. He said it was the final step in a process which could come to a conclusion “fairly soon.”

“It’s a private development,” said DiCarlo. “I have to be careful in how much I say.”

DiCarlo said “it’s not a secret” what the town wants in terms of accommodations, and that work has been progressing in that regard.

Town council has authorized the demolition of 305 Dalhousie St. it is part of a project which is said to “help with accommodations” in Amherstburg.

“We were past the ‘if’ stage some time ago,” said DiCarlo. “It really comes down to how quickly we can do this.”

According to a report on Monday night’s agenda from chief building official Angelo Avolio and director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin: “Amico Properties Inc has tabled with administration and the heritage committee a conceptual heritage themed redevelopment proposal for this site that will assist the Town in meeting the desired community objectives of the Community Strategic Plan. Further details will be subject of a future report to council which is anticipated in early summer of 2018.”

The Ontario Provincial Artistic Gymnastics Championships were in Amherstburg earlier this month and that would have been an ideal opportunity to have people stay in town, over and above the existing bed and breakfasts.

“It truly hurt to have people staying anywhere but Amherstburg,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo indicated that the town has been fielding multiple proponents to bring overnight accommodations to town.

“It’s been a wonderful process,” he said, believing that having overnight accommodations will help spur further development and interest in the town.

Demolition resumes at Duffy’s site after delays

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Delays have occurred in the demolition of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn but the town’s chief administrative officer states the goal is still to be able to use the site during the Canuck It Up Festival.

Crews could be seen at points last week working at the site as demolition appears to have resumed.

CAO John Miceli said there were issues that caused the demolition to be delayed. One of the issues was a motorcycle crash that injured Jones Group owner Terry Jones.

A Jones Group excavator was seen working at the site of the former Duffy’s Motor Inn Monday morning. Demolition had been delayed at the site but has now resumed.

A Jones Group excavator was seen working at the site of the former Duffy’s Motor Inn Monday morning. Demolition had been delayed at the site but has now resumed.

“We are working with the Jones Group to provide us with a revised schedule as there was a couple of things that did delay the project,” said Miceli. “The first was Terry’s untimely accident and the second was an order that was issued to the Jones Group by the Ministry (of Labour) which has subsequently been lifted.”

Miceli pointed out the Ministry of Labour “has some overarching powers and on this project was seeking written protocols on the demolition process. Unfortunately this  was complicated from a timing perspective with Terry’s untimely accident and has caused some delays.”

The CAO added: “I have been advised by the Jones Group that they will be working diligently to make up time so that we can have access to the site in time for Canuck it Up. I know that the Jones Group knows how important this festival is for the Town and they want to deliver for us.”

The Canuck It Up Festival is Aug. 5-6.

Duffy’s demolition now underway

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

As pieces of the former Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn fall to the ground, the town is looking ahead to the “Canuck It Up! “ festival and beyond.

Demolition started last Wednesday morning with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo getting the opportunity to take the first chunks out of the motel portion. Jones Group has been busy since then bringing down other parts of the structures.

DiCarlo noted where the town was several years ago with its financial issues but believed the Duffy’s development represents the “change and rebirth” that has been happening since.

With Mayor Aldo DiCarlo at the helm, an excavator prepares to take the first chunks out of the motel  portion of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn last Wednesday.

With Mayor Aldo DiCarlo at the helm, an excavator prepares to take the first chunks out of the motel portion of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn last Wednesday.

“This pretty much sums that up,” said DiCarlo.

The mayor didn’t downplay the impact Duffy’s had in Amherstburg during its existence but said sometimes things need to change.

“I don’t want to diminish what Duffy’s has meant to the town by any means,” he said. “It was a landmark, for sure.”

Duffy’s and its redevelopment plans are one of two major Dalhousie St. projects the town has on its plate – Belle Vue being the other – with DiCarlo stating “sometimes it’s OK to take things down, other things you keep forever.”

A concept plan the town has prepared for the Duffy’s site includes plazas, an amphitheatre, a marina and boat ramp, accessible washrooms, a fishing wharf, boat trailer parking and more.

With Mayor Aldo DiCarlo at the helm, an excavator prepares to take the first chunks out of the motel  portion of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn last Wednesday.

With Mayor Aldo DiCarlo at the helm, an excavator prepares to take the first chunks out of the motel portion of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn last Wednesday.

“We will go to the public for consultation,” said DiCarlo.

That meeting will be at the Libro Centre June 15, with the Duffy’s land being discussed from 5-7 p.m. and Belle Vue from 7-9 p.m.

There is no timeline currently established, DiCarlo added, with the redevelopment of the land depending on money. He said the town is looking at private sponsorships and funding from upper levels of government.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo sizes up the job he did while tearing down part of Duffy’s last Wednesday.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo sizes up the job he did while tearing down part of Duffy’s last Wednesday.

CAO John Miceli said while the demolition contract calls for it to last 11 weeks, he is confident the site will be cleared in time for the “Canuck It Up!” festival Aug. 5-6.

“The whole demolition schedule was set up to accommodate that event,” said Miceli.

Miceli envisioned development opportunities in that area of Amherstburg and said it will be “amazing” to look west from Gore St. and see the area opened up.

Nothing but rubble remained last Thursday afternoon after the motel portion of Duffy’s was torn down.

Nothing but rubble remained last Thursday afternoon after the motel portion of Duffy’s was torn down.

The mayor seemed to be amazed when using the heavy construction equipment, saying he appreciated the Jones Group for letting him use it. Calling himself “a machine junkie,” DiCarlo said using the excavator to knock down part of the building was something he could cross off his bucket list.

“That was a real joy for me,” he said.

Duffy’s demolition to start shortly

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Demolition of the former Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn should start within the next week or two.

Town council approved the tender during its meeting Monday night with the winning bid going to the Jones Group Ltd. The total amount quoted by the Jones Group was just over $280,000 to complete the work, with that dollar figure being over $172,000 less than the next lowest bidder.

Demolition of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn is scheduled to begin either next week or the week after, based on information learned during Monday night’s council meeting.

Demolition of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn is scheduled to begin either next week or the week after, based on information learned during Monday night’s council meeting.

In his report to town council, CAO John Miceli stated that the firm that performed the environmental assessment on the Dalhousie St. property provided a designated substance survey (DSS) of the property.

“The DSS confirmed asbestos, lead, mercury and silica present in different areas of the former tavern building. The abatement requirements were included in the tender specifications for all proponents,” said Miceli in his report.

The town used the firm Golder Associates for the assessment, Miceli stated, adding the town was able to renegotiate the purchase price down to $1.115 million.

If all goes smoothly and according to plan, Miceli said the demolition could start either next week or the week after.

Councillor Jason Lavigne wondered if the Amherstburg Fire Department was finished with the building, as it was being used for training purposes.

“We have pretty much used it for as much as we could,” replied deputy fire chief Lee Tome.

Councillor Diane Pouget said she appreciated the thoroughness of Miceli’s report, noting she was a critic when the report came several months ago regarding the demolition of the former AMA Arena.

Pouget noted the price difference between Jones Group Ltd. and the rest of the bidders.

“It’s such a big, big difference,” she said. “With all of the savings, we’ll be able to fix up the property much quicker than we originally anticipated.”

Demolition of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn is scheduled to begin either next week or the week after, based on information learned during Monday night’s council meeting.

Demolition of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn is scheduled to begin either next week or the week after, based on information learned during Monday night’s council meeting.

Councillor Joan Courtney asked if the town had applied for any grant money for the project, including the redevelopment of the lands. Miceli said there has been one application submitted thus far, and that pertained to the removal of gas tanks from the property.

Courtney also questioned whether there had been any meetings with stakeholders. The CAO said the next steps are to meet with the community and stakeholder groups to discuss the proposals for the property. The town has floated such ideas as an amphitheatre, marina, and food truck parking among other amenities.

Demolition of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn is scheduled to begin either next week or the week after, based on information learned during Monday night’s council meeting.

Demolition of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn is scheduled to begin either next week or the week after, based on information learned during Monday night’s council meeting.

Miceli added he knows of one party that is interested in sponsoring riverfront development in that area.

Council had been made aware of Miceli’s concerns that the site could further decay and become a target for vandalism. He also stated in his report that demolition could have become more complex if delayed due to the ongoing construction of the neighbouring Queen Charlotte Residences.

Meadows by the Lake torn down

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A landmark roadhouse that dates back to 1923 is no more.

Meadows by the Lake, located on the corner of County Road 50 and County Road 41, has been torn down. Wayne Jahn, who owned the property from 2005-16 with wife Neda, said it was “a sad day” and suspected the demolition was due to issues with the septic system. He recalled being told of issues when they owned the restaurant, something he didn’t quite understand.

“It was a very busy restaurant, a very successful restaurant,” said Jahn.

Jahn, who would only describe the new owner as an Amherstburg resident named Joe, said he believes there will be a new restaurant erected on that site.

“The people of Amherstburg deserve another Meadows,” said Jahn. “I’m positive he will bring back the Meadows.”

Meadows by the Lake was torn down and the rubble is pictured last Wednesday morning.

Meadows by the Lake was torn down and the rubble is pictured last Wednesday morning.

Demolition of the old building was “unfortunate,” he added.

“It’s a shame it had to be torn down so quickly,” said Jahn.

Jahn said during their ownership, the perch was the best sell and that everything was homemade. Wines were from local vineyards, ingredients were sourced locally and they did a lot of charity work.

There were also trying times as well, including a fire in 2007 that caused the restaurant to be closed for six months. Three years ago, a fire caused substantial damage as well. Circumstances that followed with the mortgage provider and insurer led to the building remaining stagnant until it was sold last year.

“There will be another Meadows there,” Jahn firmly believes.