A controlled explosion to remove a blast furnace at a former Stelco property surprised some in Hamilton on Wednesday.
Current Ward 3 councillors, environmental advocates and nearby residents had a few things to say about an apparent “lack of advance notice” for the destruction of an e-furnace that went down after 9 a.m.
The people of Hamilton were informed of the planned explosion “very large and very loud” by a police social media post around 8 a.m. on August 17, exactly 45 minutes before the first explosion.
The controlled explosion toppled a nearly 54-year-old 200-foot high furnace at Pier 16.
A spokesman for Priestly Demolition, who had been contracted for the job, said the demolition went into the planning stages 12 months ago and involved consultations with a blasting crew, Stelco’s safety and environmental staff, landowners and special demolition crews. Included.
Connie Clearwater, Director of Marketing and Communications, said: “The blast was intended to cut through thicker steel and was chosen because the structure was too tall and without endangering the lives of workers to be used in any other way.” could go.” priest.
Clearwater said the explosives were placed in the structure to “bite and dislodge”, resulting in the tower falling from its own weight.
The blast was chosen to protect the ground crew, who will now be tasked with removing the debris using heavy equipment.
The company says there was no danger to residents near the plant as the operation remained in the “property’s footprint”.
The removal of the blast furnace is in support of a redevelopment that intends to bring a world-class industrial park onto the now vacant industrial land.
Slate Asset Management is occupying approximately 800 acres of Stelco’s land, which is considered surplus, to execute a plan they say will create 23,000 new jobs in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and Ontario. There will be investments of up to $3.8 billion in the economy. ,
Investment firm Slate acquires 800 acres of Hamilton industrial land to develop industrial park
In a statement to Global News, Count. The nun said her office had reached out to Stelco “several times” before the planned demolition over the details of permit applications.
After the explosion, she learned that a community liaison committee had sent a notice 10 hours before the waterfront excursion.
“There’s only one resident participant on that committee and my office is supposed to be just a supervisor and hasn’t received a notice — that doesn’t cut it,” Nan said.
“I have received concerns from residents who were stunned and scared by the demolition without any advance warning.”
Environmental Hamilton spokesman Ian Borsuk called the matter an “unfortunate reality”, noting that residents were not given much time to prepare for the possible fallout from the blaze.
“You know, it shouldn’t be the responsibility of community members or a group like us, Environment Hamilton, to warn people to close their windows for a few hours,” Borsuk told Global News.
“If they are concerned about their health, they should have been informed by the company that was doing this demolition.”
Comments on the Hamiltonian’s social media after the explosion included, “I don’t know anyone who knew this was happening,” and, “Oh well, here comes spending more money on asthma meds.”
Ward 2 councilor candidate and chairman of the city’s LGBTQ2 committee, Cameron Kroetsch, described the incident as “a surprise for a lot of Hamiltonians” in a social media post.
Ward 5 candidate and director of Environment Hamilton: Yanda Lukasik called the situation “not ideal”, with concerns about how the demolition might have affected air quality because the land hosted a former coke oven.
“The blast furnace is located right in the middle of all of that,” Lucasico said.
“So when the blast furnace came down and I saw all the black particles recorded in the photos and videos, it worried me because I know for certain that no particulate pollution is a good thing.”
Hamilton Police say the incident was overseen without incident by both Hamilton and Halton Marine units.
In a statement, Priestley characterized the demolition as a “great success from both a structural and environmental point of view.”
Clearwater said a “named substance survey” was conducted on the structure before identifying hazardous materials on the property and removing them as per the examination.
“In addition, the dust was successfully contained within the stelco asset range,” Clearwater said.
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