April 17th, 2021

YMCA demolition a salvaging success

By Dale Woodard on March 2, 2021.

It was an almost perfect cleanup. Nearly a year ago, the 60-year-old former YMCA building on Stafford Drive South was demolished and with the project completed the final numbers looked promising, almost perfect.
A new report shows more than 98 per cent of the building material was diverted from the landfill with the City of Lethbridge’s environmental deconstruction program aiming for a minimum waste diversion rate of 90 per cent.
The consultant’s final report recently identified that 5.79 million kg of the 5.9 million kg total weight of material from the site was diverted from waste – which equals 98.01 per cent.
“We were successful in the demolition of the old YMCA facility,” said Dean Romeril, Property Manager in Facility Services. “We achieved a goal of 98.1 per cent waste diversion. In that, diverting as much materials as we can from entering the landfill and trying to recycle and reuse as many of the construction materials as possible.”
When the Cor Van Raay YMCA at ATB Centre opened in 2019, and the YMCA vacated the building, City Council voted to decommission and demolish after building inspection reports showed the facility to be in poor condition.
The building removal was deemed to be the most economical option and one that aligns with the Civic Commons Master Plan. A locally owned and operated contractor was awarded the contract to deconstruct and remove the old building to make way for a new public outdoor space as deconstruction work began in March 2020.
The salvaged materials include boilers for heating the pool, pumps from the pool, the wheelchair ramp lift repurposed by the Town of Coaldale, exterior LED lighting fixtures reused at a local shop and interior light fixtures, security roll down shutters and hot water tank reused by contractor.
As well, bathroom faucets and fixtures, plus windows and doors were donated and sold for reuse by individuals and businesses, all lockers sold to individuals and businesses for reuse, basketball nets and backboards donated to staff for local backyard reuse and the YMCA hot tub signage acquired for reuse by local collector.
“We’re very fortunate that the more we do, the more the contractors learn and are able to work with and find homes for these items,” said Romeril. “All salvage and demoliton projects is awarded the property of the contractor, so they can figure out what to do with all the materials. Usually, that’s more or less the equipment and things like that in the buildings where they reuse a lot of, in this case, some of the pool equipment and the fixtures in various locations. The big reuse tends to be the hard building materials, the concrete blocks, ashphalt and things like that, which is taken to facilities, recrushed and used for road sub-base surfacing and things like that.”
Romeril said the materials stay in Lethbridge because the cost is too great to truck them elsewhere.
“So they stay in the community and get resused here as well as generating jobs here because a lot more of miscellaneous metals and things like that go to the metal salvage yard. So they need to process that.”
The Facilities department started demolition in 2006, beginning with the Bridge Inn Hotel.
“(That) was the first structure we did and we achieved 55.4 per cent on that,” said Romeril. “All demolitions since then we’ve been able to achieve over 90 per cent because we’ve gotten into the head set of what to do and how to do it.”
Romeril said the two per cent they weren’t able to remove was mixed waste that can’t be separated.
“Generally, in most cases it ends up mostly being roofing where the roofing material is torched down to the other building material and can’t be separated. So you just can’t separate everything.”
The land where the old YMCA stood is part of a Civic Commons Master plan for the entire block, said Romeril.
“That is with council and will be for further consideration.”

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I’m nervous yet curious what will happen with this famous block. The drug users and prostitutes will be sad to see the buildings all demolished!

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