Rocky water tower to slowly come down this month

Demolition process to take six to eight weeks.

There will be no dynamite and no wrecking ball — so area residents expecting drama when the water tower in Rocky Mountain House comes down will be sadly disappointed.

But at least they won’t miss the disassembly process.

Rod Fraser, director of engineering and operations for the town of Rocky, said it will actually take six to eight weeks for the 27.5 metre (90-foot) tall structure to be slowly be taken apart — from the top, down, piece by piece.

It’s necessary to be careful, he added, because there are all sorts of obstacles/hazards near the tower, including a hospital parking lot and electrical lines.

“A few things in the neighbourhood are making it more challenging… also there are hazardous materials, such as lead paint, they have to deal with, so it has to be done appropriately.”

The contractor, All West Demolition, is expected to start the job early this month, said Fraser, who’s leaving it up to the contractor to decide what to do with the scrap metal. “We hope it will be recycled.”

The Rocky water tower has sat empty for more than a decade, since the town built a water reservoir. Last fall, Transport Canada deemed it to be a flight hazard, since it stands in the path of STARS air ambulance helicopters that will begin using the newly built hospital helipad.

The Town of Rocky Mountain House therefore received $255,000 to cover demolition costs of the tower, its adjacent “heater house,” fences and utility lines from Alberta Health Services, said Fraser.

Parking will be allowed as usual in the Rocky hospital lot during the disassembly process — only a corner of the lot will be taken up by heavy equipment, including the cranes needed for the demolition.

Fraser described it as the opposite of a building project — “It will be construction in reverse.”

Site restoration is expected to follow in the spring.

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