Marigold Nursery demolition on hold due to asbestos fears

Demolition work has been put on hold at the former site of Marigold Nursery on Lochside Drive after WorkSafe B.C. issued a stop-work order because it suspected asbestos was present on the site.

The order was issued July 21 and covers the entire work site — 7874 and 7940 Lochside Dr. — after it was determined a site inspection had not been conducted to identify hazardous materials, nor had such materials been contained or removed safely.

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According to WorkSafe, the landowner confirmed the inspection had not been done.

The order, posted along the fence at the property, noted “materials such as damaged Transite sheeting, that is suspected to contain asbestos, was observed around the perimeter of two pre-existing greenhouses on the south end of the property.”

Other hazardous materials such as pressurized gas cylinders, propane tanks and chemicals also were deemed to be present.

“The board has reasonable grounds for believing that the conditions described above present a high risk of serious injury, serious illness or death to a worker,” the WorkSafe board wrote.

The site, which was home to the nursery for 53 years until it closed this year, is the subject of a rezoning application that will soon be in front of Central Saanich council.

In 2015, it was sold by the Smith family to Tim Hackett and Steve Mann, the principals behind Marigold Lands, which intends to build a mixed-use development that will include as many as 250 units of housing in a range of housing types and sizes.

The Marigold Lands plan will include a mix of residential properties and a small commercial component spread over 264,500 square feet of construction.

Of the 250 units of housing, there are to be 130 condominium and 36 rental apartments, 36 attached townhouses and eight semi-detached houses.

A Marigold Lands spokesman said the company has not taken possession of the property — the transfer has been extended until mid-August — and the demolition work is being done by the previous owners.

According to WorkSafe, the stop-work order will be lifted only when the landowner demonstrates compliance with occupational health and safety regulations.

There might be future inspections by WorkSafe, and financial penalties could be levied.

“No decisions have been made in that regard at this time,” a WorkSafe spokesperson said.

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