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VIDEO: Nanaimo’s Madill buildings being demolished

Former forestry equipment manufacturing facility being cleared for new development
Demolition of the former S. Madill logging equipment manufacturing facility buildings was well underway Wednesday as heavy equipment chewed through the structures that had stood at the site for more than 50 years. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Buildings at the former site of logging equipment manufacturer S. Madill are being demolished this week.

Island West Coast Developments brought in heavy equipment Monday to tear down the structures, which stood at the site between Bowen and Labieux roads since the early 1960s when company owner Charles Douglas Madill moved the manufacturing operation from its former location near downtown Nanaimo.

The demolition operation clears the way for construction on the land, which is being subdivided into several lots. Three new automotive dealerships will face the Island Highway on three lots next to Laird Wheaton GM. The remaining lots next to Labieux Road will feature a seniors’ long-term care facility and a seniors-oriented condominium development with commercial outlets on what was the former Nanaimo SPCA site.

“The name of the development is Madill City Centre. We wanted to pay tribute back to Chuck Madill and his legacy,” said Patrick Brandreth, business development manager for Island West Coast Developments, contractor to land owner Bowen Road Developments.

The demolition represents the first physical step in creating the new development. The next phase will be to extend Kenworth Road to Labieux Road, with a roundabout connecting the two roads.

“We’re proposing, and in discussions with, certain care facility groups that are interested in putting up a 130-unit care facility there and complement that … it’s going to be a mixed-use type building, so it’s going to be a condo type project with some amentities … it’s basically going to be senior established living with complex care on lot five,” Brandreth said.

Construction for the auto dealerships will likely start in April and the seniors’ care complex could start in early 2019.

The developer is also making a community contribution to improve the Beban Park trail network to make it wheelchair accessible, create new trail entrances, improve landscaping and create sports team meeting and picnic shelters.

Former Madill employees stopped by to watch demolition Wednesday morning, including Jerry Mako, who joined the company in 1962 and worked in the Madill engineering department for more than 40 years. The facility had a complement of about 150 employees.

“It was great, a great company,” Mako said. “They treated us very well. Even after we all retired, Chuck used to take us for breakfast every first Saturday of the month. It was pretty cool.”

Madill died last October, but Mako said about 20 to 30 former S. Madill employees continue to gather for breakfast once a month.

Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
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