CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - The Prince Edward Home is coming down this year.
The province expects to have the tender for a demolition application to the city in February and for the work to begin early this spring.
“The building, as you know, kind of fulfilled the end of its useful life back in early 2016 and it was deemed unfit for any use without significant renovations,’’ said area MLA Jordan Brown. “It’s my understanding that if we were trying to do anything with it, it would cost more than to just knock it down and start fresh.’’
The building was once home to the Prince Edward Island Hospital before it was converted into a nursing home and a palliative care unit.
Demolition will involve removing lead paint and asbestos. District heating system lines around the building also need to be realigned, and that work should begin by summer.
Demolition is expected to be substantially completed by the end of the year.
While no decision has been made as to the property’s future, Brown knows what he wants to see happen to it.
“I’ve consulted fairly widely with the residents in my district and the Charlottetown area, and they’ve expressed a pretty clear intention to have it converted back to park space,’’ Brown said. “It’s my general understanding that that was the intent when the building was built.’’
Coun. Mitchell Tweel, chairman of Charlottetown’s parks and recreation committee, called The Guardian to offer his thoughts on the issue.
“This is a great opportunity to expand the footprint of Victoria Park, so that’s the aim and objective of what I’ve been pursuing,’’ Tweel said. “I think it’s a great opportunity. Victoria Park is one of the nicest parks in Canada and this would give us an opportunity to expand the green space and look at what amenities could be added to the park as long as it remains green.’’
Tweel is hoping the province turns the property over to the city, suggesting that Brighton Road could be turned into an entrance to the park.
“We’ve got an opportunity to do something truly remarkable.’’
Last year in the legislature, Liberal MLA Kathleen Casey asked Transportation Minister Paula Biggar whether the site might serve as the new home for the P.E.I. legislature. Biggar replied that government intends to consult with the public before any decision is made.
There has also been talk in the past about using some of the land to expand parking at the provincial government buildings, but Brown threw cold water on that.
Brown said his residents don’t want to see any part of the land turned into a parking lot.
“That would also be my position, and I have advocated strongly with the department that that not be something we would like to see happen and I think they have received that message.’’
Brown added that the province has commissionaires patrolling the grounds, especially at night, to make sure no one is trespassing.