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Days numbered for Innisfail's Globe Coliseum

Demolition permit application is being processed to demolish fire-ravaged historic building in downtown Innisfail historical block
A security fence is now wrapped around Innisfail's historic 115-year-old Globe Coliseum Building that was ravaged by a devastating fire on Aug. 2. A permit to demolish the structure was filed by a demolition company on Sept. 11. Johnnie Bachusky/MVP Staff

INNISFAIL – The long storied presence of the Globe Coliseum building in downtown Innisfail may soon come to a crashing end.

The Town of Innisfail has confirmed there has been a demolition permit application filed to have the 115-year-old structure torn down following a devastating mid-summer fire.

The loss of the Globe Coliseum building at the southwest side of Bankers Corner would leave an even more gaping hole on the south side of the historical block as there is only a vacant lot immediately east; created when the historic Berscht building was destroyed in a 2009 fire.

“You can see that the building has had significant fire damage, and that decision is obviously a private decision that the building owner makes,” said Town of Innisfail Mayor Jean Barclay. “Of course, if this (demolition application) carries through it will be sad to see that building come down but unfortunately, obviously, the damage is too significant to make sense of repairing it.”

Meghan Jenkins, community services director for the Town of Innisfail, said while the application for the demolition permit was received from a demolition company on Sept. 11 it has not yet been approved and issued.

“It's similar to a development permit. There's a series of steps to ensure all of the services have been appropriately disconnected,” said Jenkins, adding the process for approval is being handled by the town’s development officer.

“The applicant has to provide confirmation that all of the existing services have been appropriately disconnected.”

Jenkins said that includes the removal of water meters and the disconnection of gas and electricity before any demolition begins.

She said the demolition company is also responsible for a safety plan at the site, which includes putting up security fencing and barricades, and that there is no damage committed off-site during the demolition process.

Jenkins said once the preparatory work is done and application approval granted by the development officer, demolition could begin within the next “couple of weeks.”

She said she could not name the owner of the property, nor the name of the demolition company until the permit is issued.

The move to demolish the two-storey Globe Coliseum building comes after a fire on Aug. 2 destroyed four residential suites on the second floor, leaving several citizens homeless.

There were no injuries to any resident and all were safely housed with either friends or family members.

During the firefighter battle against the blaze, the second-floor roof collapsed.

The ground level floor, which was the home to a new vape business and Inspiration Ink Tattoos, sustained heavy smoke and water damage. There was also damage to The Gift Loft store in the historical building next door.

Although the official cause of the blaze has not been released, it's believed the fire was started by a fallen power wire.

In the meantime, town historian Sheri Griffith said the future loss of the Globe Coliseum, which once housed a pioneer-era Union Bank and William Hodge Sr.'s Coliseum Store, will have a “profound impact” on Innisfail’s downtown core.

“Because we will now have another vacant lot,” said Griffith. “The problem is that the town did not go forward 30 years ago pushing through the motions of having these buildings preserved.”

She said there is now only six historical buildings left in the downtown core, including the Century Theatre and St. Mark’s Anglican Church.

“Because these buildings are all privately owned they're at the mercy of whoever owns them, and if that owner doesn't choose to preserve or restore them they're torn down,” said Griffith.

She added she’s now especially concerned with the former Innisfail Fox’s Hardware Store that was built in 1901, and is currently occupied by another business in the historical block.

“The grandson of that building is still alive today. That is my uncle, Stan Fox,” she said. “His grandfather, Stanley A. Fox, was the mayor of Innisfail from 1928 to 1945. He was the longest serving mayor, and he was the owner of that building.”

Johnnie Bachusky

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