WorkSafe B.C. slapped a stop work order on the former Malaspina Gardens demolition site earlier this month. TAMARA CUNNINGHAM/News Bulletin

Concerns about possible asbestos delays demolition at Malaspina Gardens

WorkSafe B.C. slapped a stop work order on the former seniors residence on Machleary Street

Demolition ground to a halt at the Malaspina Gardens seniors’ residence this month after a stop work order was issued by WorkSafe B.C.

WorkSafe B.C. slapped a stop work order on the former seniors’ residence on Machleary Street on Thursday, Nov. 2, claiming an inspection to identify all potential hazardous materials was not adequately completed for the site before mechanical demolition work was carried out.

It also stated it has reasonable grounds for believing the work tasks or conditions it described presents a risk of serious injury, illness or death to a worker.

According to a notice from WorkSafe B.C. at the site, potential asbestos-containing materials, like stucco, have been disturbed at the site and that dust and debris, suspected of containing asbestos, are “present in a form which may be rendered airborne.

“The presence of disturbed, potentially containing asbestos materials at this job site may result in workers being exposed to asbestos fibres.”

Trish Knight Chernecki, senior manager of government and media relations for WorkSafe B.C., said in an e-mail that a qualified asbestos testing contractor indicated to WorkSafe B.C. there was no evidence in their assessment of potential for asbestos exposure to the public. The organization did notify Island Health about the possibility of an asbestos release at a workplace as per protocol.

Clearview Demolition, which is doing the work, has conditions to meet to lift the order, including retaining the services of a qualified hazardous materials consultant to do a detailed risk assessment, an inspection report shows.

Brian Morrison, project manager for Clearview Demolition, told the News Bulletin it’s a topic of discussion with WorkSafe, but there’s no danger to anybody and the intent was to be back to work this week.

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