The demolition of institutional buildings on Red Deer’s Michener Centre North site continues on schedule and should be completed this fall, according to Alberta Infrastructure.
Since the removal of asbestos and utility lines was required, the project was expected to take to mid 2022.
Eight months into 2022, and much remains to be done at the site. But the demolition/reclamation project is still slated for completion this autumn, said Chloe Carr, press secretary for the Infrastructure Ministry on Tuesday.
“Throughout the process, we have been taking numerous steps to ensure the safety of workers and local residents,” Carr added — including creating a fenced-off truck entry onto the grounds that’s kept separated from the green space that attracts hikers and dog walkers.
Many of the 28 buildings are now rubble. The Michener water tower was also brought down earlier this summer. The changes are mostly visible from the north side, facing the Clearview Ridge neighbourhood.
Several buildings — mostly on the south side — still remain standing. And there are large piles of debris and cement from the wreckage still on site.
Contractors began bringing down the unused buildings in April of 2021. The government contracted Visco Contractors Ltd., of Edmonton, to remove the brick structures from the 158-acre parcel, which is located next to the Michael O’Brien wetland and the east entry to the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary.
This former provincial land is being purchased by the City of Red Deer and will eventually be incorporated into the city’s parks system.
The property is to be re-seeded next spring, said Carr.
She noted the project’s costs were finalized a couple of years ago and will, therefore, not be affected by any changes in inflation or the labour market. The demolition and reclamation of Michener Centre North site are still expected to cost from $15 to $20 million, and to create 85 to 100 jobs.
The buildings north of 55 St. were constructed in the middle of the last century and were formerly used to house residents with mental disabilities. They have sat empty since 2014 when most residents were relocated to the south Michener site, or moved into group homes.
The brick structures were considered to be unsuitable for repurposing by Alberta Infrastructure. Demo-ing the buildings was deemed to be the safest and most cost-effective way to reclaim the site.