Kyle Rae expresses concern over Gould Street demolition
After following the coverage of the Gould Street wall collapse on Friday, I decided to make way down to 335 Yonge Street to take a look at the state of the building for myself. I was fortunate (if you can call it that) to arrive just as construction crews were tearing down a large chunk of the building's faรงade, apparently for safety reasons.
Crews were smashing it with a large crane-like machine, and the old building looked like it was about to collapse entirely. A nearby police officer did, however, reassure me that it wouldn't and that only loose segments of the wall were in danger of falling.
There was a sizable crowd at Yonge, watching as large pieces of the building came crashing down to the street. The mood was that of calm curiosity, with a hint of excitement every time a large segment fell.
But Kyle Rae, city councillor for Ward 27, was not very happy as he watched the construction crew. "I would have preferred this being a more informed process," he told me.
"A heritage architect should have been onsite, with building plans...someone with far more knowledge than someone with a demolition machine."
"There's no perspective for preserving heritage among this group of people," he said, as he waved towards the crew.
Rae secured a heritage grant for the owner of the building three years ago to fix the building's faรงade, but he said that the owner never took it.
What's more surprising is that a building on one of our city's busiest streets could be in such bad shape. I never made point to look at it closely, but when I did today, I noticed how dilapidated it looked--maybe that should have raised an eyebrow somewhere.
It remains unclear what will happen to the building as crews work to address the threat it poses to public safety, but it's not tough to see Rae's point. Despite its state of disrepair, it'd be nice to see steps taken to preserve what remains of the historic facade.
Writing, photography and video by Tomasz Bugajski.
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