Richmond city staff push for quick deconstruction of deteriorating net loft

The Phoenix Net Loft in Steveston has deteriorated to the point it is unsafe to enter and, should it collapse, it could cause lead contamination to the Fraser River and damage to neighbouring properties, according to a recent engineering report.

City staff are asking council to approve a plan to deconstruct the 1940s building where fishing nets were cleaned and repaired until the early 2000s, but the plan includes keeping as many of the “heritage elements” as possible. Furthermore, staff plan to launch public consultation on how a rebuilt Phoenix Net Loft, expected to cost about $19 million, should be used for programming.

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Both items are on the agenda for next week’s general purposes committee meeting.

A structural assessment, done already in 2016, showed the building was structurally deteriorating with about 90 per cent of the foundation showing “significant deterioration,” according to the staff report.

The cost of demolishing the building was estimated last year at $1.4 million, and would be part of the overall $19.44 million approved by council for the reconstruction of the Phoenix Net Loft.

If the building isn’t deconstructed now, it would need to be fenced off, which would have an impact on the parking lot, wharves and walkways.

Reconstruction of the Phoenix Net Loft would begin in 2022.

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