The City of Cambridge has released a previously confidential report detailing the long list of issues that plagued the former Preston Springs Hotel.
The report, prepared by the city’s Chief Building Official Dennis Purcell dated Jan. 21, 2020, details why the building was deemed unsafe and was recommended for demolition.
According to the report, the cost to make the minimum required repairs would be high, and it’s unclear if these repairs would make a difference.
“Due to the significant costs and extensive amount of work to repair the building to a minimum standard and that the recommendations to do so would achieve uncertain results, demolition is deemed by the Chief Building Official to be the appropriate course of action for the sake of public safety and community well-being," the report said.
The report estimates the minimum cost to stabilize the building was between $500,000 and $700,000 with another $1.5 to $2 million to make the building weather tight, and an additional $25,000 per year for security.
The report outlines how security, and public safety, also played a major role in the demolition order.
"This building has languished over 25 years over multiple owners with issues related to trespassing and break-ins," said Cambridge mayor Kathryn McGarry. "There is no smoking gun here. This is information now that the public can see for themselves.
"Some of the calls, looking back, would have cost the taxpayers many hundreds of thousands of dollars."
According to the report, the city and property owners have been unable to keep unwanted people out of the building for the last 25 years.
“There is a determined segment of society that insists on entering on to these premises despite clear barriers, created and otherwise, to that entry, including youth, vandals and scavengers, the homeless, 'urban explorers,' graffiti artists, those with a fascination with the paranormal and thrill seekers who have caused further destruction to the interior," it said.
The report also details every public complaint made about the former hotel over the last 25 years.
In total, there were 36 documented complaints, often for issues such as fires, smashed windows, unsecured entrances and graffiti.
The Cambridge branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario has asked the City of Cambridge for a full external review of the circumstances that led to the demolition of the former Preston Springs Hotel.
"Our understanding is that those documents just support our argument and the building did not need to come down and did not need to end this way," said Karen Scott Booth with the ACO. "We do not feel this has made any difference in the request for an inquiry."
Council will decide in March of this year if they want to pursue that option.