Work to remove the decorative lions from Harbin Gate was underway Tuesday morning in downtown Edmonton.
Harbin Gate, the gateway to Chinatown, is being dismantled to make way for construction of the Valley Line LRT.
Using slings and hydraulics, the lions came off their bases fairly easily.
“We’ve spent the last couple months planning and doing an engineering study for the entire disassembly of the Harbin Gate, including the lions,” said Dallas Lindskoog with TransEd, the company tasked with the gate dismantle.
“We’re beginning today by removing the lions on either side of the structure.”
Situated at the intersection of 102 Avenue and 97 Street, Harbin Gate has been a part of downtown Edmonton for three decades. The materials for the gate were a gift from Edmonton’s sister city, Harbin, China.
The ornate structure will be taken apart and moved to a city storage facility. After that, is anyone’s guess.
The Chinese Benevolent Association of Edmonton (CBAE) is the group that will decide the gate’s future. In late February, board chair Michael Lee told Global News the association has been working with the city on the matter, but there’s still work to be done.
“If we can determine a future site, then we have to determine the engineering aspect of it,” Lee said.
“There’s still a long ways to go before we can say for sure what kind of new gate we can have, but we are sure that a new gate will come up again.”
Coun. Scott McKeen said the city must act.
“We’re duty-bound to put the Harbin Gate back up. I think our responsibility is not just to our sister city, but to history and to our Chinese community,” he told Global News in February.
By late Tuesday morning, one of the two decorative lions had been removed from the gate and packed into a wooden box. Once the lions are off, the main structure will be dismantled into three parts and carefully moved to the city’s storage facility.
“We are using a hydraulic jacking and lifting and rolling system that will come up underneath the main section of the gate, take the load and then we cut the steel columns that support it, continue lifting the load slightly, it rolls down 102 Avenue just a matter of metres and then jacks down onto a trailer,” Lindskoog explained.
Work to dismantle Harbin Gate is expected to be complete within the next three to five weeks.