Landscape changes as Broadway buildings come down


With a controlled rush of bricks, mortar, and dust, wreckers brought down the two old Maurice’s Home Furnishings’ buildings on Main this week.

A remnant of the old Rexall Drugs sign – from long-ago tenants of the ‘sleep shop’ side of the building – could be seen peeking out towards the edge of the sidewalk.

By Tuesday, the two bordering sides of Wu’s Restaurant to the north, and Community Florist and Jewellery to the south, were visible, with sunlight streaming west through to the Killarney Place mall in the rear.

Once the complete clean up is finished, the site will serve as a parking area.

“It will be a private parking lot for mall employees, at this time,” said Rick Pauls, one of the three mall owners who own the properties, on Tuesday. “The adjoining walls to Wu’s and the florist’s still have to come down. One of the challenges we have is the addition to the back of Community Florist, because it’s a wood addition with open rafters.”

About six months ago, the three Killarney Place mall owners – including Pauls – purchased the two properties, and Maurice’s moved its business into a generous, large section in the south end of the mall.

The two historic buildings on the properties, formerly pharmacies, furniture stores, and a restaurant, then Garabed’s Home Furnishings, and more recently Maurice’s Home Furnishings, were well past their sell-by date, said Pauls.

He said there had been some negative feedback about this week’s demolition, which left him frustrated.

“You get a vocal few; some people are saying we are destroying a historical part of the street,” he said. “But these were knock-down buildings. It would be cost-prohibitive to repair them. We did it to have some future development on Main Street.”

Pauls added that if concerned residents in the area wished to save and restore old buildings, he would welcome their investment in the town.

“If they want to buy up some of these old, leaking buildings, spend the money and do them up, they should go ahead,” said Pauls. “I have other properties for sale on Main Street, and there are also some older places listed for sale by other people that have been there for quite a while. People should put their money where their mouth is.”

One of the reasons for the creation of the new parking area is that the three mall owners – including Gwen Tripp and Chris Johnson – are hoping to erect some new senior housing in the mall vicinity in the near future.

“We are planning on creating a seniors’ residential development project on the northern parking area of the mall, and we will need space for our employees,” said Pauls.

DIGGING IN – Pugh’s track hoe gets to work at tearing down the old Maurice’s buildings from behind.

BIG CLAW ON BROADWAY – The powerful wrecking claw of Pugh’s Sand and Gravel machinery was captured mid-afternoon on Monday, as it reached over to finally pull down the frontage of the old Maurice’s Home Furnishings on Broadway Avenue. By early evening, the buildings were just heaps of rubble.

OPEN VISTA – Demolition of the old Maurice’s Home Furnishings on Broadway Avenue was complete by around 6 p.m. on Monday, after work got started at 12:30 p.m. earlier that day. The site will be used as a private parking lot for Killarney Place mall employees once it’s cleaned up.