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Deconstruction of former YMCA building successful in waste reduction

​Nearly a year ago, the 60-year-old former YMCA building on Stafford Drive South was demolished and a new report shows more than 98 per cent of the building material was diverted from the landfill.

As part of the City of Lethbridge's environmental deconstruction program, a minimum waste diversion rate of 90 per cent was established as a goal for the project. A waste management plan was drafted and put into place to outline a process for selectively dismantling the building to maximize reuse, recycling and waste diversion.

The consultant's final report recently identified that 5.79 million kg of the 5.9 million kg total weight of material from the site was diverted from waste – which equals 98.01 per cent.

"The Facilities department at the City has been at this since around 2006, so achieving an above 90 per cent waste diversion on all our demo projects is pretty much the standard now," says Dean Romeril, Property Manager in Facility Services. "Hitting 98 per cent on this project is exceptional and is a great example of how deconstructions can be seen in a positive light."

When the Cor Van Raay YMCA at ATB Centre opened in 2019, and the YMCA vacated the building, City Council voted in favour of decommissioning and demolishing after building inspection reports showed the facility to be in poor condition. The building removal was deemed to be the most economical option and one that aligns with the Civic Commons Master Plan. A locally owned and operated contractor was awarded the contract to deconstruct and remove the old building to make way for a new public outdoor space. Deconstruction work began in March 2020.

A summary of salvaged materials includes:

  • Boilers for heating the pool, pumps from the pool and the wheelchair ramp lift all repurposed by the Town of Coaldale
  • Exterior LED lighting fixtures reused at a local shop
  • Interior light fixtures, security roll down shutters and hot water tank reused by contractor
  • Bathroom faucets and fixtures, plus windows and doors donated and sold for reuse by individuals and businesses
  • All lockers sold to individuals and businesses for reuse
  • Basketball nets and backboards donate to staff for local backyard reuse
  • YMCA hot tub signage acquired for reuse by local collector

Once the interior manual salvaging was completed, work crews began to mechanically dismantle the infrastructure with heavy equipment. Careful attention was paid to keep different materials separated. Metal was separated, collected, stockpiled and then hauled off site to a metal recycler. Aggregate materials such as concrete, cinder block, brick, gravel and asphalt were hauled to the contractor's yard for further processing and crushing into aggregate products. Scrap metal including iron, copper, brass, aluminum, wire and tin were sold to a scrap metal company for recycling. Co-mingled and unrecyclable waste materials were loaded out and hauled to the landfill for disposal. 

When all project materials were removed from the site, the contractor cleaned up and leveled the area. Further site grading and landscaping was completed to prepare the site for future use. The old parking lot was also kept intact for future use and is currently being used as a contractor project laydown area for the 3 Avenue renovation project and short-term soil stockpiling.