Jones Group

Demolition firm authorized to bring down AMA Arena

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The AMA Arena will be coming down soon, with demolition likely to begin early next month.

The arena, located at 209 Victoria St. S., will be torn down by the Jones Group with town council agreeing to authorize the Jones Group Ltd. to complete the work in a 5-2 vote at the Feb. 13 meeting. Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale and councillors Jason Lavigne, Rick Fryer and Leo Meloche.

Total cost of the project was listed as $144,077 with the approved capital budget being $150,000.

Councillor Diane Pouget opposed the motion with Pouget having made an earlier motion that was defeated. Pouget was seeking further information including experience, pricing, methodology and any and all violations against the companies involved in the bidding

Pouget referred to the report from administration that was on that night’s agenda as “inadequate” and sought more information.

“We have nothing here but Jones Group coming in first,” said Pouget. “This is a very heavily populated area. We have to make sure the best group gets the job.”

Pouget added there were several concerns when the former École St.-Jean Baptiste building was torn down on Brock St.

Councillor Joan Courtney also opposed the motion and said there have been issues with the successful proponent in the past. She was concerned about crushing and removal of debris on site but CAO John Miceli said there will be no crushing on site and that it will be trucked away to an approved site.

Miceli noted the report ranks the bidders and noted it was an RFP and not a tender process. He said a committee evaluated experience, the proposed scope and methodology, price and timing.

The Jones Group has been authorized to tear down the AMA Arena. Demolition is expected to start in early March.

The Jones Group has been authorized to tear down the AMA Arena. Demolition is expected to start in early March.

The committee was made up of the manager of facilities, deputy fire chief, chief building official and the financial planning administrator.

Miceli said there was a $47,000 difference between the first and second place finishers and a $49,000 difference between the first and third place finisher. He said municipal bylaws will be followed during the demolition process.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo added he has not seen the level of detail Pouget was asking for in other similar projects.

“As long as I’ve been here, council has never received this level of detail,” said DiCarlo.

Director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin said the process used “has integrity” and the report “speaks for itself as to what was factored into the decision.”

Old ArenaWEB

Miceli added the current schedule calls for the demolition to begin in the first week of March and is expected to last seven to eight weeks.

“They could take less but that’s what we requested in the RFP,” said Miceli, who added the residents will be notified.

The AMA Arena was originally built in 1970. It was in operation until 2011 when the Libro Centre opened and was used in recent years for storage.

Holding zone removal gets approved one week after it had been originally denied

 

By Ron Giofu and Adam D’Andrea

 

Town council has changed its mind and will now allow the holding zone to be removed for a property on Howard Ave.

Council reconsidered a Sept. 19 decision where the holding zone removal was denied and approved the holding zone removal Monday night by a unanimous vote. Councillor Rick Fryer put forth the motion to reconsider the previous decision, stating the approvals needed from the Ministry of the Environment were put into place. He said a hold was placed on the property by the previous council in 2013 to ensure certain provisions were put in place and those have now been satisfied.

Residents still have the ability to file complaints should they have concerns, he added.

“They are looking at employment for the town,” said Fryer, estimating there will be 20 jobs. “It’s not bad news at all. It is a new business for Amherstburg.”

Fryer believed there was no reason to deny the holding zone removal any longer, stating the town could have been forced to spend a lot of money on Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) costs if the previous decision was appealed.

“It’s a great news story for Amherstburg,” he said.

Director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin told council they could be exposed to OMB costs that “could be significant” and lawsuits if the approval wasn’t granted. Councillor Diane Pouget said she has to protect the town as well as her family.

“I feel like I have a gun to my head,” Pouget said Monday night. “I can’t put the community at risk.”
Pouget said she feels “very comfortable” that the residents in the area will still be looked after if they have concerns.

“We are not leaving you by yourself. We will act on your behalf,” she told the residents Monday night.

The site at 7809 Howard Ave. was approved for development by the previous town council in December 2013. A holding zone symbol needed to be removed so the Jones Group Ltd. could begin developing the land as a disposal site for non-hazardous construction and demolition waste. The Sept. 19 decision came at meeting during which councillors heard concerns from residents who live nearby.

“I’m a very concerned resident, especially because of the Jones’ track record,” said Jerry Rempel, who lives northeast of the property. “What are you going to do to protect the people?”

Resident Bonnie Rempel said she is worried about the potential for hazardous and carcinogenic materials such as asbestos, hydrocarbon and lead to make its way onto the site and contaminate the surrounding air and water.

“Every single day I have to clean up dust and materials that were in the air and I don’t need it to get any worse,” she said. “We bought our land to have a horse facility there and I want to be able to do boarding, have lots of horses and maybe even have other businesses there. It’s going to be really hard to do that with a junkyard in the backyard.”

Dillon Consulting Ltd. partner Karl Tanner addressed many of the residents’ concerns during the meeting. Tanner was hired by the Jones Group to be a planning consultant on the project. With regards to hazardous substances potentially infiltrating the local water supply, he said there would be a system of ponds and an oil-and-grit separator to prevent such events from happening.

“This is well beyond what you would normally have in place for a development. Administration was very adamant about containing everything on site. Everything has to be allowed to settle and then it has to go through the separator before it’s discharged to the creek,” said Tanner, who added that water must be monitored for a number of years to ensure that it meets the Ministry of Environment’s water quality standards.

Asbestos will not be allowed onsite according to Tanner, who said the MOE has been very specific about what the Jones Group can and cannot bring on the property.

Town hall sign

“If you watch how buildings are demolished, the asbestos is always taken out of the building before the demolition occurs,” he said. “The Ministry does not allow a building to be knocked down with asbestos in it.”

Councillor Diane Pouget, who voted against the removal of the symbol Sept. 19, said that night she is concerned about the fact that she has spent “numerous hours” dealing with non-compliance from the Jones Group in the past.

“Do we expect all these people to move because they fear for their health? That’s ridiculous.”

Although Councillor Jason Lavigne said if he were part of council in 2013 he would have voted against developing the site, he opposed the removal of the holding zone because the Jones Group has already followed the proper procedure to begin development. Council, he said, was only here to “remove the letter H.”

“We don’t have the enforcement ability to supersede the MOE. We don’t have the ability to turn back the clock to the last council to say we aren’t going to approve this planning process,” Lavigne said. “When you have the MOE, ERCA, the planning department, all of the checkmarks are in the place. It’s very difficult to win that battle.”

The motion to deny the removal of the holding zone was approved with a vote of 4-3 at the Sept. 19 meeting.