Historic Abbotsford brick plant being dismantled

A demolition crew has been working for nearly two months to tear down and recycle the old Clayburn brick plant.

A demolition crew has been working for nearly two months to tear down and recycle the old Clayburn brick plant.

It was announced in March of 2011 that Clayburn Industries Ltd. would be permanently closing its Abbotsford manufacturing plant at the end of July.

The decision was then made to take the building down.

“We do not have an obligation to remove the building at this point in time, but we’ve chosen to,” said David Lane, president and CEO of Clayburn Industries.

“The building is not suitable for any other use, that we can envision, that would be suitable for this property.”

The plan is to remove the manufacturing plant and the inventory storage sheds.

“It is not our intent, at this point in time, to vacate the site. Nor is it our intention to remove the two-storey office building.”

A few sheds on the west side of the property will also remain.

The Clayburn name plays a large role in Abbotsford’s history.

The brick plant originated in 1905 in the area now known as Clayburn Village, which was B.C.’s first company town as almost all of the homes were created for plant staff.

The plant relocated several times before opening on its present Pine Street location in 1949.

Despite the closure, the name Clayburn will endure.

Lane said the company will continue to staff the head office, finance, and administration and construction operations at the Abbotsford site.

“All we are doing is removing the equipment and the buildings and the concrete foundations, backfilling the site to a level condition and prepping it for whatever it will eventually become.”

Brad Morrison, general manager of Clearview Grinding Ltd. and project manager on the demolition site, said it will take a total of six months to complete the job.

‘There’s about 1,000 tons of steel and 15,000 tons of concrete,” said Morrison.

His company reuses and recycles as much of the materials from a site as possible.

One substance that cannot be reused is the nearly 100 tons of asbestos that was contained in the roof.

“We have asbestos procedure that we have to follow through WorkSafe BC,” said Morrison.

Crew members had to wear special suits, masks and other protective gear when handling the material. The asbestos was then shipped to a facility in Alberta. The rest of the building will be processed locally.

According to Morrison, the wood will be broken down and shipped to a local company, to eventually be used as fuel.

The concrete will have the rebar removed and then be crushed along with the brick and used for backfill.

Whatever material cannot be recycled or re-purposed will be taken away as garbage.

“We strive not to fill up our landfills. We’re looking to recycle and reuse as much as we can. That’s our goal.”