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Sidewalk closed in front of Royal Hotel as a safety measure

UPDATE APRIL 24 – As the Royal Hotel project continues to work with engineers and the Minister of Labour to determine next steps, the County has closed the sidewalk in front as a safety measure.

Andy Harrison, the County’s chief building official, has issued the precautionary order to block the sidewalk on Picton Main Street in front of the Royal Hotel until the building’s foundation has been stabilized – expected to take about a week.

Judith Burfoot, BIA Picton’s interim manger, with Mayor Robert Quaiff at the back of the Royal Walkway between Coach’s Pub and the hotel under construction.

It could be a week for ‘unsafe building’ order to be removed at Royal Hotel site

APRIL 20 – It could be a week before Coach’s Pub is re-opened and residents above are allowed to return to their homes as remediation efforts to fix the east wall and foundation of Picton’s Royal Hotel continue.

Mayor Robert Quaiff was informed late Wednesday night the County had to issue an ‘Unsafe Building’ order following a failure to the east wall and foundation of the Royal Hotel, under construction next door.

“I’m told the wall just let go all of a sudden, and don’t know more yet, but we should later today.”

The Ministry of Labour was notified and a engineers worked into the night Wednesday to discuss action that would be taken.

“Crews are expected to arrive this afternoon to start remediation on the wall and we should know more about that later today,” said Quaiff, who inspected the site Thursday morning. “It is possible it could be this time next week before it’s considered safe again.”

Sharon Laredo, speaking for the Royal Hotel, from Vaughan, said Thursday afternoon that the re-construction site encountered a serious setback when a portion of the eastern exterior suffered significant settlement.

“Immediately following the event, the site was cleared, secured and closed. Structural engineers and safety crews along with government officials from the County of Prince Edward and Ministry of Labour were contacted and brought in to examine the site. A stop work order has been issued by the Ministry of Labour. Safeguards are being put in place to ensure the eastern wall is secure.”

She forwarded a comment from developer Greg Sorbara.

“As you can imagine this is very upsetting,” he said. “The safety of our construction team and neighbours is paramount. While it is too early to determine the exact cause and the extent of damage we are working around the clock with the professionals examining the site to gain a full understanding of what happened”.

At the end of March, a crane was brought in to remove shoring towers as part of the redevelopment. Since, steel girders have put put into place.

“The steel work in place, I think is the reason the wall hasn’t fallen. What happens next will be up to the engineers to decide. That’s what they do,” said Quaiff Thursday morning.

He said the Royal Hotel’s insurance company has been contacted as there will no doubt be compensation issues for those out of their homes, and lost revenue for the pub and grill.

Talking at the site with Judith Burfoot, Picton’s interim BIA manager, Quaiff said he feels for Coach’s, the residents and hotel owner Greg Sorbara.

“We’re thinking about developer Greg Sorbara at this time, hoping it’s not going to cause too much delay. And I feel for Coach’s being shut-down during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s hurting their business and affecting some jobs,” said Quaiff. “I have also spoken to some of the family members of those affected. One is staying at the Picton Harbour motel but will have to get out by the weekend because of tourist season, but we’ve offered some ideas about where they can go, hopefully to get some assistance.”

Sorbara, former Ontario finance minister and long-time MPP, and wife Katherine have a home farm near Northport. He purchased the iconic Royal Hotel, at 247 Main St., in 2013 and received heritage agreement and site plan approval in the summer of 2015. His plan is to create a full-service 28-room boutique hotel including a bakery, cafe, bar with fireplace, a dining room seating about 120 guests and a library.

It was hoped the project would be complete by the fall of 2018.

Photo of east wall damage at the Royal Hotel courtesy James Lowery.

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