By Adrian Duyzer
Published April 18, 2008
After yesterday's shocking collapse of a King William Street building next to the Lister Block, city officials and LIUNA are scrambling to avoid blame for what could have been a deadly disaster.
City of Hamilton general manager of planning and economic development Tim McCabe said, "It would have been impossible to know that this [collapse] would happen," according to The Spectator, while Joe Mancinelli, vice-president of Liuna, was quoted as saying "It would have been almost impossible to predict".
In fact, the only thing hard to predict is when something like this will happen, not whether it will happen.
It's common sense that if you allow a building to decay, eventually it's going to experience some kind of structural failure. Buildings are not self-repairing organisms. They require regular maintenance to stay attractive, useable, and evidently, standing.
So that no one can claim in the future that predictions of collapse in the core are "impossible", I'm going to go ahead and make one right now:
If the people who own dilapidated, neglected, decaying buildings downtown don't get their act together soon, we're going to see more collapses, fires, and other destructive incidents. We may also see injuries and even deaths.
As Robert Howard put it in today's Spectator editorial, "the next time there's a collapse - and there's nothing to suggest there won't be one - ambulances may be joining police and firefighters at the scene."
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