Three more century-old buildings have been demolished in Saint John but unlike the demolition of the so-called Jelly Bean buildings in April, which had little salvaged before they were brought down, many items were grabbed before the latest buildings were torn down.
The three buildings sat next to the Jelly Bean buildings, which were razed in April to make way for a housing development by Saint John Non-Profit Housing. The structures pre-date the city’s Great Fire of 1877.
Former Saint John heritage planner Jim Bezanson helped organize a deconstruction of the three latest buildings which he says resulted in literally “tonnes” of items salvaged.
“Fireplace mantles, hardwood flooring, brackets, doors,” Bezanson said.
The items were taken to Habitat for Humanity and its Re-Store. They aren’t expected to last long.
“I wouldn’t say the stuff was unusual but certainly the age of it is something that we don’t see all the time,” said Ellen Snider, C.E.O. for Habitat for Humanity in the Saint John region.
“The old radiators and fireplaces, et cetera, they’re really special pieces,” Snider said.
Saint John Non-Profit Housing says they were able to salvage the items because they had more time to prepare, which wasn’t the case they say when the Jelly Bean buildings came down.
Bezanson said the whole idea of deconstruction and smarter decision-making can benefit both the economy and the environment.
“In the event that a building of historic significance that still has components that people can reuse, in the event that it does need to come down, then I think we need to start looking it as a resource instead of a liability to just be mowed down and filled into the landfill,” Bezanson said.
Meantime, the advocacy group Heritage Saint John is being resurrected with a public meeting set for Thursday evening.