By Micelle Zilio and Neco Cockburn, The Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — It's the end of the line for a Lansdowne landmark.
Work crews began to demolish the venerable Coliseum building Monday, as work to redevelop the Glebe site continues.
Community members who live along Holmwood Avenue between Bank Street and O'Connor Street directly face the construction site and said the noise and dust is disrupting. Chalk drawings on the sidewalks and road in the neighbourhood read "community crime scene" and "solidarity with Holmwood Avenue."
André Demers lives with his partner on Holmwood Avenue. He just returned from Afghanistan, where he was serving as a medic, and will be returning next month. He said it's hard to sleep through the noise at the Lansdowne construction site, which starts around 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. and continues until after 5 p.m.
While Demers and his partner are considering relocating, neighbour Dennis Brock said he and his wife are "definitely moving" next year because of the construction.
Brock adds that construction workers have been doing their best to reduce the dust caused by work at the Lansdowne site but it's still caking the neighbourhood.
"Your car's covered in dust everyday," said Brock, who has lived on Holmwood Avenue for nine years. "It's a nice part of the Glebe — at least it was."
According to a report by AMEC Earth & Environmental, there are two areas of soil contamination on the Lansdowne site: one on the northern portion near the Coliseum and Horticulture Building and the other on a former landfill site east of the Aberdeen Pavilion. There is worry in the community that the contamination may be transferred through dust as construction and demolition continue.
The Coliseum was built in 1903 and was expanded in 1926, most recently serving as a box office for the Ottawa 67's.
Over the years, the building, once known as Howick Hall, has endured numerous renovations and repairs. The roof collapsed in 1904 and again in 1905, and the walls were badly damaged in a boiler explosion in 1914.
The building has played host to livestock shows, auto shows, political conventions and the RCMP Musical Ride. At one time it was used as a bingo hall.
An assessment for the city rated its historical significance as "low to moderate." Despite this rating, Friends of Lansdowne President June Creelman said the organization still sees the historic value of the building.
"We recognize that it didn't have an official protected status. However, if you look at the building, you'll see it has a lot of character. That it has been enjoyed and used for a long time. We find it too bad that there wasn't a way to refurbish the building," said Creelman.
Crews have started by removing the back pavilion of the building, work that will take about two weeks to complete, according to the city. A City of Ottawa construction update said some equipment noise should be expected and the contractor is to water and take other steps to prevent dust.
The front section of the building along Bank Street will be torn down in about two weeks, the city said. Because it's close to the street, the sidewalk and a bus stop will be closed, but other bus stops in the area will be available.
The Coliseum is being demolished and the Horticulture Building moved east as part of the city's plans to redevelop Lansdowne Park with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group.
The demolition is being done by EllisDon Corp.
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