Building unsafe, groups must leave

A building used by two community organizations in Rimbey has been deemed unsafe to occupy — a liability the town no longer wants to be a part of.

A building used by two community organizations in Rimbey has been deemed unsafe to occupy — a liability the town no longer wants to be a part of.

Town of Rimbey chief administrative officer Tony Goode said that the organizations Helping Hands and the Lions Project 83 will need to vacate the cracking and crumbling building on 49th Avenue and 49th Street in Rimbey by Wednesday.

“It is well-known that building is in a state of disrepair so we brought in our inspector to take a look at it and he gave us a report that said it shouldn’t be occupied so really it is a safety issue,” he said on Monday.

Not only is the building — owned by the town, leased by the Lions Club and sub-let by Helping Hands — a liability, it is also a cost-burden, according to Goode.

The Lions Project 83, which organizes and sorts recycling papers, generates $2,000 a year. It costs the town $18,000 to insure and operate the building, Goode said.

“When we were going through our budget, we realized we were subsidizing the operation quite heavily,” he said.

The Lions Club also operates a forklift on the top floor­— another concern of the town’s.

“If the Lions Club owned and operated it and had the insurance, I guess it would be up to them but that is not the case,” Goode said.

Joan Fenwick and her husband Tom run Helping Hands, an operation that accepts donations of clothes and small items. The organization ran out of the building for 15 to 18 years.

Joan Fenwick said she has been told that she could move to the Scout Hall building two blocks north.

“The problem is they want me out on Feb. 29 and I know I can’t get out in a day and they told me that they were going to free up the town guys but I don’t know how much they can do,” she said on Monday.

Fenwick said she didn’t consider the building in that bad of shape but did say they experienced a lot of flooding and loud creaks in the floor when the Lions Club ran the forklift.

“I was talking to an old timer and he told me that it was built in 1923. But hearing the people talk in town, from my opinion, they seem quite opposed to the building shutting down.”

Goode said that there has been no final decision on what to do with the building after it is vacated but there has been talk of demolishing it.

“It is unfortunate that the building is in such a state but if it can’t be occupied and is a hazard, it would make sense that one would look at tearing it down.”

The town will meet with the two organizations to discuss options of where they can be housed.

jjones@bprda.wpengine.com