The town is moving forward with the demolition of the old Christ-Roi school on Main Street along with the Hawkesbury Mosque.

Demolition Plus, a construction company based in Cornwall, has been contracted by the town for the demolition work. Councillor Pierre Ouellet reported at the October 30 council meeting that the company and some sub-contractors would start by taking out the asbestos from the building. That operation would last until November 19. The actual demolition for the Christ-Roi would start on November 20 and would be finished by December 20 of this year.

As for the Mosque (which is not an actual Mosque), asbestos will be removed between November 20 and 24 and the actual demolition will be starting on November 29 and all work should done by December 29.

The Town of Hawkesbury was not able to find a buyer for the Christ-Roi. Interested buyers could acquire the land for one dollar, contingent upon providing a performance deposit of $50,000 for demolishing the building within six months following the purchase. In an article in The Review this past July, developer Anthony Assaly thought the Town of Hawkesbury was ignoring an opportunity by not selling the land for development. On multiple occasions during the past few years, ASCO has made offers to buy Christ-Roi, and had offered to pay for studies required before building a proposed waterfront condo complex.

According to Assaly, the last tender was unrealistically strict since it required the purchaser to pay $1 plus HST and spend $10,000 on the development of the strip of property along the river that would remain town property. It would then become the town’s responsibility to develop that strip of property at its discretion and at its convenience.

Once the deal had closed, the purchaser would have six months to demolish and decontaminate in accordance with all applicable environmental laws. The purchaser then had six more months, until 12 months after the closing date, to commence construction of the first (main) building. The town mentions that it reserves the right to alter this time period through negotiation with the successful purchaser, but would not remove it altogether.

The town’s tender also required a $50,000 deposit, which is a regular occurrence in such tenders. Clause 7 of schedule “e” states that in the event that the purchaser cannot fulfill the tender’s requests in the agreed upon time frame, the owner would be forced to sell the property back to the town which would not reimburse any of the proposed price or the purchasers expenses, such as the demolition and study fees.

In the same July article, Mayor Jeanne Charlebois answered Assaly’s claim by stating that the tender was very strict because they were tired of the back and forth with this project. Charlebois says that the Christ-Roi and the Hawkesbury Mosque are not only an eyesore but also a danger to the public and they need to be brought down swiftly.

“We had no offer on the last tender and we need these two buildings to come down. Council decided that the town would open a tender for the demolition only, for now. After the demolition is done, we will see what we will want to do with the land,” said the Mayor.

The cost for the demolition for both building is estimated at $624,800. After numerous attempts to sell the Christ-Roi building during the past 10 years, Council decided that the town should demolish it.

Both buildings were built using asbestos, a highly cancerous substance which can cause mesothelioma cancer, a rare, aggressive form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. For more information on mesothelioma cancer you can visit the mesothelioma cancer alliance website