The roof of a New Westminster community centre has caved in under the weight of Monday’s fresh snow.
Emergency crews were called to the Arenex building in Queen’s Park late Monday night after part of the roof collapsed. The 80-year-old building was empty at the time so no one was hurt.
But New Westminster fire chief Tim Armstrong told Global News the collapse might not only be due to the snow.
“One of the theories we have is that the roof was replaced a few years ago, roughly two years ago, and the building never had any insulation. So, prior to this, any time we had a snow load, the heat from the building would melt the snow. But now, with a new roof, it insulated the roof with four inches of Styrofoam, almost like a hot tub cover so to speak, over the roof so again the snow would accumulate and wasn’t melting.”
The worst damage is to the back of the building and it’s expected the entire building will have to be torn down.
New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote said this is a devastating blow to the city. “My heart sank when I saw the devastation,” he said.
All other buildings in the area are intact.
The 10,000 square-foot gymnasium is very well used during the day and crews are going to work to salvage as much equipment as they can from inside.
“My own daughters do gymnastics in this building every week,” said Cote.
“At this point it’s too early to tell what’s going to be salvaged but looking at the building it doesn’t look like it’s going to be repairable.”