Work is well underway to take off the canopy covering the sidewalk on both sides of the 4600 Block of Lakelse Avenue now that Hands on Contracting has been awarded a contract by the City of Terrace.
The company will receive $159,000 for the first phase of removing the canopy, but costs are not yet known for the second phase which is repairs that may be needed to store fronts once supports and fixtures supporting the canopy have been removed.
“We were unable to inspect and put a value to façade repairs up front, as it needed to wait for the canopy to be removed to see the extent of the work,” said city communications official Kate Lautens.
Instead, Hands on Contracting will be paid based on the time it takes for repairs and the material it needs.
The removal is the first step of what the city expects will be a complete overhaul of the 4600 Block, a project not only involving a new surface look but one involving new city services now running underneath the vehicle travel portion of the block.
Erected in the 1980s when the city’s primary downtown block was last redone, the canopy is considered outdated, dilapidated and structurally unsound.
It has no current owner and no insurance although a legal opinion requested by the city in 2021 argues that despite the lack of clarity as to who is responsible for it, liability rests with the city because it overhangs a city-owned sidewalk.
Jorell Caine from Hands on Contracting described the work as complex and difficult.
As much of the material as possible, such as wooden beams, will be salvaged and the metal sheathing can be reycled, he said.
“It just makes sense to do what we can,” he said.
Businesses along the 4600 block and the city began discussing the future of the canopy five years ago with an initial eye toward fixing up the canopy instead of removing it. But that idea never moved forward.
Instead, the city has now pencilled in $500,000 using money from a major provincial grant to remove the canopy this year.
Although the city and merchants have begun discussing the overall 4600 Block renewal project and concept of a new-look, a final design has yet to be approved and no money has been assigned to cover the costs.