Monday “bittersweet” as last SGH bricks fall (VIDEO & GALLERY)

Three-year-old Corban Burn plays with his excavator outside the site of the old Sarnia General Hospital. November 12, 2018. (Photo by Colin Gowdy, BlackburnNews)

The final bricks of the former Sarnia General Hospital on Mitton Street were coming down Monday.

Demolition and abatement at the Sarnia landmark, that had become a derelict eyesore in recent years, took 14 months to complete.

GFive Inc. partner Mark Lumley, one of the local businessmen undertaking a multi-faceted redevelopment of the site, said for the most part, the process went smoothly.

“It actually worked out about the way it was supposed to, which is cool. It took a little longer than we thought– initially we were shooting for August and now we’re in early November, so pretty close. The abatement was difficult, but we got it done.”

Lumley said more than 90 per cent of the material taken down from the hospital will be reused, and that just a little pile is going to a landfill.

He said Monday was a bittersweet day.

“I think the community all agrees that it was time for it to go and time for it to come down, but I do know that a lot of people were served well by this building whether it was healthcare or by their careers,” he said. “I think it’s going to have a lot of mixed feelings for people remembering the time that they spent there.”

A few members of the community came out to get one final look the the historic site, including longtime resident Mark Plant.

“My family had a lot of doings in here, and my wife worked in the hospital for many years. A lot of people got fixed up and what-not here, so it’s sad to see it go but it’s nice to see the progress.”

Cathy Vanni, who’s been in Sarnia for ten years, said she’s been following the entire demolition process with her 3-year-old grandson, Corban.

“I’m very happy because it’s cleaning Sarnia up. Add some new buildings and move on. And it would be nice to see the Mitton Village in the area get rejuvenated.”

Vanni said she would love to see more construction in Sarnia, and that Corban would be right there to see it with his mini-excavator in hand.

Sarnia General Hospital opened its doors in 1896, and closed in November 2011 when the city’s two hospitals consolidated at the current Norman Street site and became Bluewater Health.