Rob Geier of Geier Waste Management, using a backhoe, methodically dismantles the former Co-op garden centre on Greig Ave. on June 11. (Staff photo)

Former Co-op garden centre building demolished

Structure was long past its useful life

The last structure that was once part of a thriving Terrace retail hub came down over the weekend.

The building in the southeastern corner of the vacant large lot on Greig Ave. had been the Terrace Co-op Association’s garden centre. In its prime the garden centre was a companion to the much larger Co-op shopping centre that was demolished years ago.

Geier Waste was hired by the city to demolish the structure. Owner Rob Geier remembered the days when the garden centre was a busy place with people buying garden supplies and seeking advice from its longtime manager, Jack Atkinson. “I was on the Co-op board for nine years,” Geier said.

Wood from the building has proven to be very salvageable, something not lost on Geier given today’s lumber prices.

“Look this 2X4,” he said in holding up a piece for inspection… I bet it would be $20 [at a building supply store],” he said.

“Practically everything here can be used again. The only material going to the landfill will be insulation and drywall.”

The shopping centre complex held a grocery store, hardware store, clothing outlets, gas bar, hairdresser, an insurance business and a large cafeteria on an upper level was the go-to place for local residents.

After decades of being in business the complex fell victim to changing shopping habits. When the logging industry began its decline business fell to the point it was no longer viable and it closed in 1998.

In a controversial move the City of Terrace bought the property from a private party in 2005 in an attempt to control what would happen on the 4.4 acre parcel.

The city demolished the shopping centre structure in 2011. Because of the gas bar years of remediation work followed so that the city could get a clean environmental bill of health to improve its chances of being sold.

City officials did hold out hope that the development of LNG facilities in Kitimat would spur developer interest but to date it remains unsold.

“The building has also been broken into several times and is an operational issue to keep secured,” said David Block, development services director for the city.

“The property continues to be available for sale and the removal of the old structure will enhance the site for development.”

The garden centre was leased out for several years to the Terrace and District Services Society as a space where unwanted but usable furniture and other items could be refurbished and sold.

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