City workers were busy digging up the dirt around the Union Hotel on Tuesday to allow experts to review the soil around the soon-to-be demolished building. Guy Bertrand photo

Trail gears up to tackle teardown

Demolition of the Union Hotel in downtown Trail and property remediation will be ongoing this year

Tearing down the old Union Hotel will be a big job this year, and with it comes a hefty price tag.

Read more: City Trail closes purchase on old hotel

Read more: First steps taken to teardown Union Hotel

But razing the long-vacant establishment is a council priority given that it eats up a block of Trail’s main drag.

The 2019 capital budget, at this point, directs almost $1 million into demolition and a redress of the Victoria Street strip as well as adjoining undeveloped lots.

“The budget is quite high given that the total budget includes an estimate of $120,000 that the city would have to pay to dispose of the building waste at the regional landfill,” explained Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff.

“In this respect, the city is going to look at all options in the hopes that this cost can be reduced.”

Remedial work will include updating what lies beneath like water, sewer and storm-drain lines, and compacting the property with back-fill so it will be set for new development.

Once the old buildings are fully removed and the property effectively remediated, the site will be viewed as a strategic piece of property given where it is positioned on the highway and within the downtown core.

“Once the liability of the old buildings has been addressed, the bare land commercial lot should attract considerable private sector interest,” Perehudoff said.

“And this would appear to be true given that the city has already had some inquiries around redevelopment timelines and the disposition process,” he added.

“The city will be in a position to either sell the property to a developer or consider future public use sometime this year.”

Depending on the proposed uses that may come forward, the municipality plans to complete a highest and best-use assessment for the property as part of updating the Downtown Plan, which has also been identified as a strategic priority.

“The costs to deal with this property have been substantial due to the age of and state of the property at time of acquisition,” Mayor Lisa Pasin said, mentioning staff continues to look for cost-effective ways to dispose of demolition materials.

“The city is committed to fully remediate the Union Hotel property to further economic development opportunities within the City of Trail,” she continued.

“Due to the property’s location on the main business corridor of the city, it is viewed as a prime location for a business to relocate.”

The City of Trail bought the Union Hotel and two nearby properties for $125,000 a few years ago. In the fall of 2017, the municipality took possession of 898 Victoria Street (Union Hotel) and an old house at 1140 Cedar Avenue as well as a vacated building located at 1144 Cedar Avenue.

Council’s intention has always been to demolish the buildings and restore the properties for re-development.

In addition to the Union Hotel work, Trail council has given preliminary approval for a number of 2019 capital projects.

Those include cell block improvements in the RCMP building for $257,000; chiller replacements in the Trail Memorial Centre for $550,000 and a new Zamboni for $135,000.

Another big job has been approved for a Glenmerry neighbourhood. Council set aside $1.3 million to rebuild Iris Crescent and replace infrastructure such as water and sewer lines. Other transportation-related projects include $250,000 for a road design of a second access road to Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, and $75,000 for improvements to the Gyro Park boat launch.

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