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Coaches, tenants allowed back into building next to Royal Hotel construction

Work under way on the Royal Hotel east wall. – Gilles Miramontes photo

UPDATE MAY 19 – Following repairs to the east wall of the Royal Hotel in Picton, the Unsafe Building Order was removed from 251 Picton Main Street and tenants of the one apartment and Coaches Pub business were allowed back into the building as of noon Friday, May 19.

The order was issued April 19 after damage occurred to the east wall of the next door Royal Hotel. A failure in the foundation and brick wall caused a portion of the wall to buckle. The neighbouring building was deemed unsafe and tenants were required to vacate.

Coaches will re-open Tuesday, May 23.

The sidewalk will continue to be closed intermittently while construction at the hotel continues.

Walkway in front of Royal Hotel a safety measure; tenants find new home

UPDATE May 1 – A covered walkway has been installed outside Picton’s Royal Hotel for the safety of pedestrians.


Sharon Laredo, spokesperson for The Royal says it’s almost a certain that the wall, either partially or entirely, will have to come down. Engineers are continuing work to determine how much and when work will begin.

Meanwhile, Coaches Pub remains closed, and tenants who were living above have moved to another apartment as they cannot return to their home.

UPDATE APRIL 24 – As the Royal Hotel project continues to work with engineers and the Minister of Labour to determine next steps, the County has closed the sidewalk in front as a safety measure.

Andy Harrison, the County’s chief building official, has issued the precautionary order to block the sidewalk on Picton Main Street in front of the Royal Hotel until the building’s foundation has been stabilized – expected to take about a week.

Judith Burfoot, BIA Picton’s interim manger, with Mayor Robert Quaiff at the back of the Royal Walkway between Coach’s Pub and the hotel under construction.

It could be a week for ‘unsafe building’ order to be removed at Royal Hotel site

APRIL 20 – It could be a week before Coach’s Pub is re-opened and residents above are allowed to return to their homes as remediation efforts to fix the east wall and foundation of Picton’s Royal Hotel continue.

Mayor Robert Quaiff was informed late Wednesday night the County had to issue an ‘Unsafe Building’ order following a failure to the east wall and foundation of the Royal Hotel, under construction next door.

“I’m told the wall just let go all of a sudden, and don’t know more yet, but we should later today.”

The Ministry of Labour was notified and a engineers worked into the night Wednesday to discuss action that would be taken.

“Crews are expected to arrive this afternoon to start remediation on the wall and we should know more about that later today,” said Quaiff, who inspected the site Thursday morning. “It is possible it could be this time next week before it’s considered safe again.”

Sharon Laredo, speaking for the Royal Hotel, from Vaughan, said Thursday afternoon that the re-construction site encountered a serious setback when a portion of the eastern exterior suffered significant settlement.

“Immediately following the event, the site was cleared, secured and closed. Structural engineers and safety crews along with government officials from the County of Prince Edward and Ministry of Labour were contacted and brought in to examine the site. A stop work order has been issued by the Ministry of Labour. Safeguards are being put in place to ensure the eastern wall is secure.”

She forwarded a comment from developer Greg Sorbara.

“As you can imagine this is very upsetting,” he said. “The safety of our construction team and neighbours is paramount. While it is too early to determine the exact cause and the extent of damage we are working around the clock with the professionals examining the site to gain a full understanding of what happened”.

At the end of March, a crane was brought in to remove shoring towers as part of the redevelopment. Since, steel girders have put put into place.

“The steel work in place, I think is the reason the wall hasn’t fallen. What happens next will be up to the engineers to decide. That’s what they do,” said Quaiff Thursday morning.

He said the Royal Hotel’s insurance company has been contacted as there will no doubt be compensation issues for those out of their homes, and lost revenue for the pub and grill.

Talking at the site with Judith Burfoot, Picton’s interim BIA manager, Quaiff said he feels for Coach’s, the residents and hotel owner Greg Sorbara.

“We’re thinking about developer Greg Sorbara at this time, hoping it’s not going to cause too much delay. And I feel for Coach’s being shut-down during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s hurting their business and affecting some jobs,” said Quaiff. “I have also spoken to some of the family members of those affected. One is staying at the Picton Harbour motel but will have to get out by the weekend because of tourist season, but we’ve offered some ideas about where they can go, hopefully to get some assistance.”

Sorbara, former Ontario finance minister and long-time MPP, and wife Katherine have a home farm near Northport. He purchased the iconic Royal Hotel, at 247 Main St., in 2013 and received heritage agreement and site plan approval in the summer of 2015. His plan is to create a full-service 28-room boutique hotel including a bakery, cafe, bar with fireplace, a dining room seating about 120 guests and a library.

It was hoped the project would be complete by the fall of 2018.

Photo of east wall damage at the Royal Hotel courtesy James Lowery.

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  1. Fred says:

    Is this still happening? I have never seen such a a slow moving project with so many issues. Bizarre!!!!

  2. Chuck says:

    I agree with you Marnie. It never ceases to amaze me the number of critics or folks screaming for heritage protection without wooden nickel invested.

  3. gilles miramontes says:

    Nor is it necessarily the fault of the engineers, the work crew, or the developer. Had the Royal remained derelict for another winter, it is likely this would have occurred anyway–and with greater consequences. Currently the brick walls are supported by the steel framework inside, and likely why they haven’t come crashing down.

  4. Beth Globe says:

    In terms of architecture the Facade is any Exterior wall that faces an Open Space. Although typically most people consider the “Front” of the building the Facade. As the Sides of the Royal face the alleys which are open spaces, these two walls are also facades.

  5. Marnie says:

    Mr. Sorbara is trying to preserve a landmark Main Street Street building in the best way he can. If he had not tackled this project we would still be looking at shingles on the sidewalk after every wind storm. The Royal was near-derelict and if it had been demolished for safety reasons we could have been looking at a huge hole on Main Street for a long time. Cut the man a break. It is regrettable that what happened has caused great inconvenience to a small number of people but it was in no way intentional.

  6. Chris Keen says:

    No, Ken – they saved three walls and were adding on at the back, I believe.

  7. Ken Globe says:

    Umm, isn’t that what they were in the process of doing???

  8. Chris Keen says:

    What a waste of time and money, and a huge and costgly inconvenience for innocent third parties. If the developers had simply saved the building’s facade (which is all anyone can really see anyway) the project would be well on its way to completion!

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