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Firm confirms brick building restorable

A Nelson firm completed a peripheral structural review of the old city garage building behind city hall recently

An engineering firm from Nelson completed a peripheral structural review of the old city garage building behind city hall and found that it is a suitable candidate for restoration.

Nelson Engineering Inc (NEI) performed the review as per request from Ken Haberman, one of the Cranbrook residents that spearheaded the movement to preserve the brick building. The report was included in the April 7 council package.

The building was originally slated for demolition last year, but that was put off after a delegation of volunteers came forward hoping to restore it.

"So the good news is it looks like it can be restored, that's the conclusion of the report," Mayor Wayne Stetski said at the April 7 meeting.

Brad Nelson, an engineer from NEI, noted in the report that the structure is a suitable candidate for restorative purposes, but said that if preventative measures are not put in place to repair existing damage, further deterioration will make the costs for restoration prohibitive.

"It is the conclusion of this office that the existing brick garage building is in poor condition and requires remedial repairs to both the roof framing system as well as the exterior brick walls," Nelson said in the report. "These repairs should be completed as soon as possible in order to minimize future progressive deterioration of the garage."

Nelson also noted that the building has little or no ability to resist wind or seismic forces that affect lateral loads. He recommended that a lateral load resisting system be included in the repairs.

Coun. Angus Davis was happy to see the report. He said it took him some time to see the spirit of the group but now is behind them.

"I support them 100 per cent," Davis said.

Coun. Diana J. Scott said she liked their spirit as well, but still didn't support the restoration.

"I don't see any cost associated with this. Of course a building can be restored, any building can be restored," Scott said. "But what's it going to cost and who's going to pay for it?"

Coun. Bob Whetham said the group has made an application through the Community Initiatives fund for $34,700.

Council received the report as information.

CAO Wayne Staudt said he passed the report onto the City's engineering department. He is expecting a comprehensive report from the city's building inspector, which will include input from the fire department and planning department.

NEI conducted the site review of the old city garage on Feb. 6, 2014.