Decision on Paramount coming for Chilliwack

Laura Reid of Chilliwack said she nominated the Paramount Theatre building over the weekend for Heritage Canada’s Annual Top 10 Endangered Places List. - JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE
Laura Reid of Chilliwack said she nominated the Paramount Theatre building over the weekend for Heritage Canada’s Annual Top 10 Endangered Places List.

Chilliwack city council will be deciding the fate of the old Paramount Theatre building Tuesday afternoon at city hall.

A decision is required this week because Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation has notified City of Chilliwack of its plan to demolish the adjacent property, known as the Ewert Building, which shares a wall with the old theatre building on Yale Road east.

CEPCO officials have offered to demolish the Paramount at the same time as they reduce theirs to rubble in the downtown core, in part because of contamination discovered after an environmental assessment of the building was conducted.

In a staff report contained in the March 6 council agenda, CEPCO's plans are outlined to council:

"They have confirmed that the demolition of their building could have a severe impact on the City's building and have offered to demolish the City's building at no cost to the City.

Demolition of the Ewert building at 46183 Yale Rd., will allow them access to proceed with any "remediation" or cleaning up any environmental contamination that may have "migrated" underground to the Paramount property next door at 46187 Yale Rd.

The report does not specify what type of contamination has led CEPCO to proceed with demolition of its building.

The staff report to council makes it clear that despite an extensive year-long effort to find someone with the financial means to redevelop the Paramount property, and despite the nostalgic effort in Chilliwack to preserve it, no substantial proposals have come forward.

Therefore "it would be in order that a decision be made (by council) to demolish this building or to continue to have it remain vacant."

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