Seagate demolition evokes mixed emotions

PORT HARDY – Out of sight, out of mind will soon be the fate of the Seagate Hotel. Yet memories of the hotel in its heyday are lingering on.

  • Feb. 3, 2011 11:00 a.m.

The Seagate Hotel demolition began Monday morning. By midafternoon the two heavy machines had burrowed into the middle of the hotel.

PORT HARDY – Out of sight, out of mind will soon be the fate of the Seagate Hotel. Yet memories of the hotel in its heyday are lingering on.

Norm Flanagan, a Port Hardy resident since 1959 had mixed emotions showing on his face as he watched the machines go to work.

“It was time for it to go,” he said. “It is so run down. It’s a shame they just let her go.”

Flanagan said he has seen at least five sets of owners come and go at the Seagate. “I remember Charlotte and Rollie Taylor,” he said. “She was an artist and she’d sit and do pencil sketches of all the old timers. They put ‘em up on the walls on the men’s side of the bar. I wonder what happened to those?”

Rob Salter, owner of the hostel up the block from the Seagate, said he was impressed with the job the city and its contractor have done clearing the building of hazardous materials. “It’s been a nice neat process. They took their time and did it right. This will be good for tourism and good for the town,” said Salter.

“We used to do 10 or 12 thousand dollars a night in the bar,” said Ron Anderson who worked at the Seagate as a bartender, bouncer and handyman “on and off for 30 years.”

“This (the demolition)t is the best thing that could happen,” said Anderson. “It’s an eyesore and it needs to go.”

Hazco Environmental Services is overseeing demolition subcontractors on site. The older of the two buildings that make up the Seagate Hotel complex was cleared of hazardous materials in January in preparation for the two heavy machines that began to chomp away at the Port Hardy landmark Monday morning.

Brian Fagan, SBF Coordinator for Hazco, said they will have the job done in about a week.

“We are taking our time with this project.” said Fagan. “We want to recycle as much of the material as possible, so we are taking the time to do it right.”

Fagan says that by separating wood, metal, and refuse and grinding up the wood they can reduce the number of truckloads passing through the community and reduce the amount of material going into the landfill.

“If we grind all the fir wood coming out of the building it can be mixed with waste products at the landill to accelerate the composting process. That compost is used to cap the landfill and that is good for the environment,” said Fagan.

The machines have cleared a space at the back of the site nearest the waterfront. The big machines alternate between taking large bites from the structure that people expect of a demolition machine and delicately plucking out individual items for recycling.

When the process is complete Fagan expects that just a hollow spot will remain where the Port Hardy landmark stood for so many years.

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