In 2021, the municipality acquired the property located at 33 MacDonald Road to provide a secondary access and lower-level parking to Salisbury’s Highland Park. Since this purchase, the Town has maintained the former residential dwelling on the property as they explored options for the structure.
After careful consideration, the Town has determined that it will be proceeding with demolition and removal of the structure following a motion of Council during the Regular Council Meeting of October 10, 2023. This work is expected to take place starting in mid-October.
The following is an overview of the rationale that guided this decision for the Town:
- A real estate appraisal was completed in September of 2020 which identified cracks in the foundation, also noting that the best use of the building would be for residential use;
- In August of 2022, the Town conducted a structural engineering inspection of the property. The report found that repairs for structural issues alone were $85,000 (these are Class D estimates, meaning conceptual estimates, not including HST). These costs are exclusively for structural soundness, and do not include additional repairs which would include a roof replacement, bringing the building to code, required accessibility upgrades, etc.;
- The structural engineering inspection report concluded that: “although structural issues were identified, [the firm] does not believe the structure is in immediate danger of catastrophic failure. However, [the firm] does not recommend using the building for public use as it would require substantial financial effort to reduce the [Town’s] associated risk and make it acceptable for public use”;
- The building is currently zoned as Residential. In order to be used for public-use, the Town would be required to undertake a re-zoning process. This would also require any work to change the use of the building (residential dwelling to public use building) to be done to the National Building Code standards, which given the age and repairs to be done to the building, would be an extremely expensive undertaking given the many requirements of the Canada Building Code;
- Selling the parcel of the property would be a possibility and was considered. The 2020 appraisal valued the full property, including now-subdivided parking area, at $168,000. However, given its immediate adjacency to Highland Park, Town Council has determined that maintaining ownership is in the best interest of the Town for future park expansion plans. Town Council is actively pursuing conversations for further expansions of the Park, and selling this property would limit the additional footprint of any potential expansion;
- While the home is in a historically-significant location, the majority of the structure has been renovated and/or replaced. With the exception of some hardwood floors, certain trim, certain doors, and a fire place, the original elements have been removed. While it is unlikely that any elements will be able to be reclaimed, the Town will remove any original elements that could be re-purposed into future fixtures of some sort prior to demolition, insofar as this does not affect the demolition contract;
- Prior to deciding on proceeding with demolition, the Town explored the potential of having the building structure moved. While it is possible, it was identified that it would be an expensive endeavor requiring utilities to be lifted along the route given the height of the building. Where this may present a liability to the Town, potentially even after the building was en-route to a new location, it was determined that this is not a practical option;
- Since the purchase of the property, the current dwelling has remained vacant. Beyond standard maintenance costs, the Town requires approximately $20,000 annually for the insurance, taxes, and utilities of the vacant property;
- The building will be used as a training site for members of Salisbury Fire Rescue and nearby mutual aid departments prior to demolition. This will include activities such as wall-breaching, ventilation, roof venting, patient rescue, and door breach exercises. This will not entail the use of any fire and/or burned materials.
The work is expected to begin the week of October 23, 2023. It is expected to take seven (7) days. During the work, access to the site will be prohibited.
The Town appreciates the patience and understanding of residents as it undertakes this work and looks forward to future discussions on re-imagining potential uses for the eventual expansion of Highland Park.