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This article was published 9/7/2019 (360 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
An historic Wellington Crescent mansion given a stay of execution from the wrecking ball last month isn’t being demolished this week — it is having asbestos taken out of it, a spokesman for the owner says.
Lawyer Jamie Kagan, who represents Jeff Thompson — a local business owner who is the director, president and secretary of the numbered company listed as the owner of 514 Wellington Cres. — said Tuesday: "We are not demolishing the house."
"This is ongoing asbestos remediation. My understanding is we had hired contractors some time ago to deal with asbestos abatement issues, and they are finishing the work there," Kagan said. "If we wanted to knock down the house, it could come down in 15 minutes. I’m told the only way in or out is in an abatement suit."
Meanwhile, area residents said they are closely monitoring the site they want to save as part of the city’s proposed Crescentwood heritage conservation district.
Christine Skene, a member of the Save 514 Wellington committee — which last month picketed outside the demolition fences when heavy machinery appeared on the property, prior to the city issuing a stop-work order — said the group again became concerned this week, when workers were seen in the house and loud banging sounds were heard from inside.
Skene said even asbestos remediation work should be stopped while the legal issues are sorted out, because the City of Winnipeg has notified the group Thompson is appealing the stop-work order and the proposed heritage conservation district designation.
"Our concern is saving the exterior, but we’d also like this house to be lived in," she said. "There’s no work to be done in the house. You can’t take anything apart.
"We’ve spoken to the planning department, and they have referred it to a bylaw officer."
Skene said now that the area has been nominated as a heritage conservation district, fines for demolishing a building within its borders are now a minimum of $1,000 per day, and up to $1 million.
The structure, known as Gordon House, was built in 1909 for James Thomas Gordon (1859-1919), a legislator and executive with the Winnipeg Exposition Company, Dominion Exposition, and Winnipeg Livestock Exchange.
In recent years, it was the home of Sen. Douglas Everett (1927-2018), who sold it to Thompson in 2016.
The 8,000-square-foot house is assessed by the city at $1.2 million.
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.
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Updated on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at 10:34 PM CDT: Adds related items