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City orders demolition of crumbling McDermot Avenue warehouse to start by Monday

The City of Winnipeg has issued a demolition permit to the owners of a crumbling McDermot Avenue building, after ordering both it and a neighbouring building to be evacuated.

People who live near the five-storey warehouse at 579 McDermot Ave. say they’ve seen bricks falling off the building.

On Friday, concrete blocks were seen laid on one side of the building, in an apparent attempt to shore up a wall that has a deep crack extending up to the roof. Security fencing has been set up around the building’s perimeter.  

Haley Fitzner has lived near the West Alexander-area warehouse for more than six years, and noticed how severely the building had deteriorated in recent weeks.

“Bricks are falling. We hear them at night,” she said. 

When she mentioned the building’s condition to her mother, “she was really worried,” said Fitzner.

“She’s like, ‘You should get out of there.'”

McDermot Avenue warehouse ordered to be knocked down after bricks fall from building

2 hours ago

Duration 1:51

The City of Winnipeg has issued a demolition permit to the owners of a crumbling McDermot Avenue building, where neighbours reported seeing bricks falling off the sides.

After city officials ordered the residence next door evacuated, Fitzner said she began worrying about her own safety.

“It just makes you wonder, like when you know how many bricks are going to fall before it starts kind of really coming down?”

Greg Holland shares Fitzner’s concerns. Like her, he’s lived near the building for around six years and has watched it deteriorate.

He hopes the owners proceed quickly with the demolition, which the city’s order states must start no later than Monday.

“It’s a very, very weak building right now — like, it’s ready to come down with a high wind or anything,” he said.

City of Winnipeg spokesperson Kalen Qually said city officials ordered the neighbouring building at 573 McDermot Ave. evacuated “as a precaution,” and contacted the Winnipeg School Division about potential risks to the nearby Sacré-Coeur School.

Work to convert warehouse to apartments

Property records show the warehouse is registered to one individual and two companies, one of which is Clearwater Investments Inc.

CBC News contacted the company and was directed to speak to the operations manager, who declined to comment.

City of Winnipeg permits show the owner was in the process of converting the warehouse into a 50-unit apartment building. The work was to include new walls, doors, windows, and fire separations, as well as mechanical and electrical work.

Work had also started on plumbing alterations, including drainage, venting and waterlines.

Brielle Beardy-Linklater, who also lives near the building, described the neighbourhood as “mixed-income” and “working class,” and says the loss of a building like the warehouse has an impact on the residents.

“I just think that some of these buildings that are standing … [the city needs] to start looking into these places and start looking into making affordable housing and stuff like that,” she said.

“Because these buildings are nice … [but] they’re obviously going to become a hazard at some point. So our city needs to start stepping it up in that area.”

Coun. Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry), who chairs the city’s property and development committee, said the city has taken a number of steps to get tougher on owners of vacant and derelict buildings.

She wants property owners to maintain their buildings so situations like that at the McDermot Avenue warehouse don’t happen.

“That means making their property look good so that they can feel secure and their neighbours can feel secure,” she said.

Qually said the city will step in and begin demolition if the owner did not start the work by Monday.

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