What’s going on with the Dungarvon Building in Almonte? Frequently asked questions answered

A map indicating street closures in Almonte.

The Township of Mississippi Mills has provided some answers to frequently asked questions about the safety concerns surrounding the Dungarvon Building; on Friday, the township announced that some roads around the building have been closed as a result of these concerns.

Why is this an issue? The building has been there a long time and looks fine.

The property owner’s engineer submitted a report to the Municipality on October 4, 2023. A special meeting of Council was held October 6, 2023. At that meeting, Council heard from the Chief Building Official that the owner’s engineer raised significant safety concerns and is of the opinion that winter weather will cause additional negative impacts to the building.

After receiving this report, the Municipality engaged its own structural engineering experts to review the owner’s engineering report, undertake an inspection of the building and provide the Municipality with a second engineering report. The Municipality received this engineering report on Thursday, November 23, and the Municipality’s structural engineering experts have confirmed the safety concerns for both the public and the tenants of the building. The report also concluded that action needs to be taken because winter weather will cause further damage to the building.

Why is the road being closed?

The road closure decision was made to ensure the safety of tenants at 38 Main Street East and the public. Based on an independent third party engineering review of the interior and exterior of the building it was deemed a public safety concern and that action needed to be taken immediately due to the weather and stability of portions of the building. The Municipality received the engineers report on Thursday, November 23 and immediately issued an order to the owner of the building to close the street by 4:00 p.m, on Friday, November 24.

Who makes the decision to close the road?

The order issued by the Chief Building Official directed the owner to request the temporary road closure to protect the public and tenants. This request had to be made by a specific time otherwise the owner was in breach of the order. The decision to close a road is made by the Director of Roads and Public Works under the authority granted by Council to the Director in By-law 02-103 (Delegated Authority – Temporary Close a Municipal Highway). Even if the owner does not request the closure, the Director can still implement the temporary closure based on their determination of the appropriate actions, as per By-law 02-103.

How long will it be closed?

There is currently no date identified to lift the road closure. It will remain closed until the concerns with the safety of the building are addressed.

Why is this decision being made now?

This decision is not being made lightly by the Municipality. Upon receipt of the engineer’s report, the Municipality had to take steps to ensure the protection of tenants in the building and the safety of the public.

Who made the decision?

The order to the owner of 38 Main Street East was issued by the Chief Building Official under their authority and responsibility of the Building Code Act. The road closure was approved and reviewed by the Director of Roads and Public Works in consultation with other senior staff, engineers and the municipal solicitor. The Director of Roads and Public Works has the authority to authorize temporary road closures in emergency situations and where the health and safety of residents is at risk.

What about the tenants of the building?

Staff are in contact with Lanark County Social Services regarding the matter and will provide contact information for assistance to tenants of the building.

Will residents still have access to homes on Union and Main Street East?

All residents in the area will continue to have access to their homes and driveways with the exception of those living in the units at 38 Main Street East. Residents directly affected by the closure on Union Street South, Main Street (between Martin and Union streets), and Main Street (between the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail and Union Street), will receive a hand-delivered notification as those residents will see the greatest impact. The residents on Union Street South will only have access in one direction. In order to facilitate the closure and maintain traffic flow in the safest manner possible, Union Street South will need to be a one-way street with traffic permitted to travel from Main Street to Queen Street.

What about garbage collection and snow plowing?

There will be no impact to garbage collection or snow clearing for the properties affected by the road closure. The road closure was designed to ensure that all municipal services can continue to be provided.

What are the next steps?

Additional orders from the Municipality’s Chief Building Official will be made to the property owner regarding the stability of the building. Failure to comply with those orders will require the Municipality to take further action.

How does this affect the Santa Claus Parade?

The road closure will alter the route for the Santa Claus Parade that traditionally travels on Main Street. An alternate route has been identified. The new route will be widely shared on social media, news feed and radio soon.

Where can we receive updates on the situation?

Updates on the temporary road closure will be posted to the municipal website and social media channels. There will also be signs identifying detours. Additional questions can be directed to Melanie Knight, Acting Director of Development Services and Engineering, at mplanner@mississippimills.ca.

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