Photo Du JourWindsor

Peace Beacon

So I headed down to the river the other day to check on the progress of the new Peace Beacon, and to check on the forlorn Cleary Guest House.

Coming Spring 2007! bmi| pace – The planning firm had this to say on their website:

We were awarded this commission as a result of a design competition. The project involves the preparation of a comprehensive plan and implementation strategy for a continuous six-kilometer park area along the Detroit River in the City of Windsor. Five key park pavilions, called Beacons, provide a locus of services, such as cafes, washrooms, telephones, fountains etc., and explore thematic aspects of the park design. Brook McIlroy Inc. was the recipient of four design awards for this project including the Waterfront Center’s 2001 Top Honor Award. (In association with the MBTW Group)

Above is the Architect’s (PBK Architects) rendering. If you’re a glutton for punishment, and want to see what’s coming, a whole document on the Peace Beacon is available from City Hall.

So far it looks pretty uninspiring.

Especially since it’s now $600,000 over budget, and not done…

Beacon’s price tag rises by $603,000
Excavation a ‘nightmare’

Roseann Danese
Windsor Star

Friday, January 26, 2007

Poor soil conditions are being blamed for $300,000 in cost overruns on construction of the Peace Beacon in Dieppe Gardens, according to a council report.

“Every shovel full was another nightmare,” said parks director Don Sadler. “There was no way of knowing without x-ray eyes the extent of everything that was in there.”

Council will be asked to approve the unexpected hike in costs, as well as an additional $303,000 that had been taken out of the original budget, for a total increase of $603,000 in the project this year.

The cost had been expected to be in the range of $2.6 million, which was to be paid over two years. Costs are now anticipated to total $3.2 million.

The parks department has been allotted $2 million annually for improvements to the riverfront. The Peace Beacon will be paid through those funds, with nearly $2 million paid in 2006 and another $1.2 million to be paid this year.

The cost overruns will mean that other work along the riverfront won’t get completed, said Mayor Eddie Francis. “It’s coming out of (the parks department) budget.”

“The other priorities they may have on the list aren’t going to get funded.”

The soil conditions encountered when digging began included wood, woodpiles, large concrete foundations and organic fill. The materials had to be removed and shipped to the landfill, causing unforeseen costs of $104,000. The fill that was removed had to be replaced with engineered fill in order to hold the footings to support the new structure, Sadler said.

“Soon as we got digging down a little bit deeper to place the footings, then we ran into a tremendous” problem.

Sadler doesn’t blame the firm hired to conduct the test because the problems could be missed when digging so deep. “At 50- foot intervals, you don’t always hit every pocket.”

Smith Contracting, the firm that was hired to prepare the site, will receive $252,852 for its work, an extra $34,392 over first contracted.

Bear Construction, which will build the structure, will be paid $1.9 million, or $425,926 more than first contracted.

PACE Architects will get $211,475 or $38,375 more than the original budget.

“I don’t think we can ever contemplate what’s underground,” Francis said.

“My dissatisfaction was expressed to administration.”

Still, he has asked administration to consider setting up committees that oversee the construction of individual projects — similar to the committee that’s been established for the new arena — in order to keep costs in line.

“If we do projects in the future, the costs should be identified up front. Any deviance from that has to be approved by a group with senior (administration) write-offs,” Francis said.

The Peace Beacon will replace the former concession building in Dieppe Gardens and will cover 3,200 square feet.
© The Windsor Star 2007

Sad to see the old Guest House awaiting execution, but attitudes like this one expressed by Gord Henderson in the Windsor Star:

…awaiting the replacement of a couple of Windsor’s most embarrassing eyesores in 2007. She plans to be sipping a chardonnay on the patio of the new Peace Beacon in Dieppe Gardens when they knock down that travesty called the Cleary Guesthouse. And she’s hoping completion of the new downtown transit terminal will be quickly followed by demolition of its stunningly ugly predecessor.

So the Mid Century Guest House and Art Moderne 1940 Bus Station are both crap. I bet Gordo loves stucco and fine dining at Applebee’s.

I also spied the fact that the 1957 plaque is missing from the building. I have some feelers out with my contacts at the city to determine if it’s been removed for safe keeping during demolition or if it’s been pilfered. Once I hear back, I’ll let you all know.

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