The following was originally posted to Facebook in response to what many perceive was a lack of action on our part.
For those who don’t know, I am the operating officer for Crankshaw Holdings, the owner and operator of the previous Jean Burns building.
There seems to be a particular mentality and understanding that our company intends to leave the property as it is now. This is not true.
In a couple of weeks, it will be two years since that devastating night when a malfunctioning bathroom fan caused a fire. This is the official cause.
The fire from that fan damaged the retail store on the main level, but no other stores. It found its way up to a false ceiling on the upper floor through an electrical room. The fire burnt down. The upper floor was lost because of it.
How we proceeded through these past two years had much to do with negotiations with the city, WorkSafe BC, our insurance company and others.
While we are not yet finished with the demolition, we estimate when we are done, it will cost our company close to a million dollars. This is not covered by insurance as many would believe.
Our lawyers are in the process of filing a Notice of Claim in the courts to keep our claim open as we have yet to receive the full amount of the policy.
We have demolished this site in stages, examining each step to see if we could save any part of this historic building. But, in the end, it has all been lost. Note, that this was three buildings, on three separate properties, requiring each to be handled independently.
On December 8, 2017 we met with the City of Nanaimo, and our structural engineer to come to an understanding on how the site should be left.
We are waiting for instructions from our engineer. We need to brace the walls so that we can remove the remaining concrete posts and slabs. Also, all the remaining brick will be removed.
Once we remove the these components, we will start with geotechnical works to see what is beneath the ground. History will show that the soil conditions on the Terminal Ave side is different from the Commercial Street side.
We also need to understand the purpose of a large pipe beneath the concrete. Is it a tunnel, a sewer or something else. There are some drill wells there too that have been discovered. So, there is still a lot of mystery to solve.
Then there are concerns about an old service station that was once part of the old ACME. Where the pumps used to be is where a section of the property has been encased with concrete walls with several toppings of gravel and sand. It may be empty inside, but we still needs to do an environmental study to determine what to do next.
We removed the construction fence and installed a chain link fence for both appearance and safety. I think we are doing more than most other properties in the same condition.
We will also look at using the site in summer for a market of sorts if we can make it safe for all the use.
So, for all you armchair whatever you are, before spouting off what you think we are doing with the property, now you know.