Old Invermere community hall slated for demolition

Teardown set to begin later this month

Teardown of the old community hall in Invermere is expected to begin in the next couple weeks, with completion slated for June 20th.

The community hall – the Lake Windermere Memorial Community Hall as it’s formally called – was built as a memorial to those who lost their lives fighting overseas for Canada. But major structural issues, including a failing roof and floor, as well as an old boiler, led to the decision by the District of Invermere (DOI) in 2017 to tear down the decades-old structure.

A contract had been awarded for the hall teardown to Amiante Environmental Consulting, which began work in February 2018. However, that company was stopped three days into the project by WorkSafeBC. According to an inspection report by WorkSafeBC, the company had not fulfilled all the safety requirements, and further sampling would be required prior to demolition resuming.

After waiting for the issue to be resolved, the District finally decided to put the work out to tender again. The cheapest bid price was by Pacific Blasting & Demolition, for $379,685, plus tipping fees – almost twice the cost of the original contract, Mayor Al Miller confirms. He speculates the jump in prices was due to the asbestos abatement work that needs to be done on the site.

The DOI plans to discuss the tipping fees with the RDEK to see if there is any flexibility on rates.

They requested the work be done by June 20th, “so it wouldn’t be going into summer, with construction going on right in the middle of our town,” says Mayor Miller.

As for future plans for the site, nothing has been decided yet, confirms the mayor. Public consultation in June 2017 garnered a range of ideas. Mayor Miller says the central point that has come out of discussions so far is that people want to have it kept publicly-owned.

“The key piece that we have realized around any of our discussions so far is that they want us to retain that land,” says Mayor Miller. “I believe that’s a good thing that we retain that land, owned by the DOI, and then we can facilitate whatever happens there; we can help control and facilitate that.”

A multi-user group recreation facility has been bandied about since the Valley Fitness Centre, a nonprofit organization, is finding its current building to be too small for the number of users at its site. That is one of the many ideas that have come forward so far, says Mayor Miller.

“Because it is such a prime piece, we are going to be working really hard to come up with the very best use we can for that property. And the public is going to certainly have input into that,” he says. For the time being, he adds, the District will likely either seed or gravel the property.

If you have ideas for the site, located on 8th Avenue between 12th and 10th Street, Mayor Miller suggests you put them in writing and get them to the District. Email mayor@invermere.net or drop off your suggestions in writing to the DOI office, located at 914 8th Ave.

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