Robson Square Constructionby
Walking by the torn up Robson Square above-ground plaza yesterday I realized I still haven’t posted about the construction. Shortly after the Olympics and Paralympics ended, my regular #5 downtown bus driver said that the route would be on a detour (right at Thurlow, left at Smithe, left at Burrard, along Pender) until at least September. Now that September is here and the plaza is still a bit of a mess, here’s the scoop on what’s going on over there.
Remediation work continues at Robson Square to preserve the heritage architecture of this three-block complex designed by Arthur Erickson. The project is part of a BC Government initiative that began in 2004 to renew the 30-year-old “building envelope” and introduce other site enhancements, including the revitalized outdoor plaza and public skating rink. The remediation project will continue through 2010. [UBC Robson Square]
The latest update on the Government of BC’s website confirms that 90 percent of the building structure is now waterproofed, which was the main concern. Where the “red spring” sculpture stands on the street-level of Robson Square they are about 60 percent complete. The road area was ripped up a few weeks ago and that stretch is now being completed. The construction is not expected to wrap up for another few months with Robson Street (between Hornby and Howe) reopening the second week of December, 2010.
The Ministry of Citizens’ Services says the “green roof” that went up and down hills on the plaza will be restored using modern green roof technology (that they did not have 32 years ago when it was first built). Trees, vines, shrubs and bushes will return (some were saved) and will be replanted.
It looks like the project will be complete by the time ice skating opens up again down below in the Robson Square GE Plaza Ice Rink.
Update It looks as though the future of the rink is undecided. News1130 reported the following September 15, 2010: “Former Minister of State for the Olympics and current Minister of Citizen Services Mary McNeil knows exactly what benefits the rink brought during the 2010 Games. However, it may not be re-opened to the public this winter. “It was an exciting spirit I think we want to try and continue. We are looking at what we can do. As you know, it’s in the midst of a huge remediation project and the building is old.” A maintenance and build contract with General Electric expired after the Paralympic Games. McNeil says the government is still looking at new funding partners.”
Update Per UBC Robson Square’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, the ice has gone down and the rink should be open for the weekend on December 5th.
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Here’s how Robson Square looked like on Feb 13, 2010.
Last I heard from the City: The construction was supposed to be complete be December 13th but will now be ongoing into March 2011.
I would be embarrassed to be a part of this construction crew. I walk by this site every day and see groups of construction workers standing around doing nothing. They have been working on some steps going up the dirt pile near the corner of Robson and Hornby for at least three weeks now and they’re still not done. I would be surprised to see this project finished before the end of 2011. If these crews were working in the private sector instead of on a government project, they would have been fired a long time ago.
Well, it’s July 2011 and this project is still not complete. In fact, they’ve just restarted working on the court side. Before the Olympics they tore up all the concrete on the court side, relayed it, polished it, etc. Then in fall 2010, they tore apart the sidewalks on either side twice, for the bike path and for sewage, and then again on one corner for something else. Now every day from 7:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. they are breaking it all apart again. It’s the province’s make work program, as far as I can figure. I’ve been watching it for over 4 years now. That might be longer than it took to build the thing in the first place.