Celebrating deconstruction at Kapyong Barracks

A former mess hall is among the over 30 buildings that are being removed during the demolition of the Kapyong Barracks.
A former mess hall is among the over 30 buildings that are being removed during the demolition of the Kapyong Barracks.

Measuring success on DCC projects usually involves looking back on something built, but for the team in Winnipeg this year, it will instead focus on what was torn down.

The demolition of the Kapyong Barracks – formerly part of CFB Winnipeg and home of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2PPCLI) – is a significant project that has been years in the making. 2PPCLI left the 65 hectares of land in 2004 and DND determined the site was surplus to their needs. In 2019, after significant consultation, a Comprehensive Settlement Agreement was signed with Treaty One First Nations, who will also buy 68 per cent of the property. DND is responsible for handing over clear, clean land, ready for its future development – which is where DCC comes in.

"This is definitely a unique project in that respect," said DCC Coordinator, Construction Services at 17 Wing Winnipeg, Nathan Brunel, about the difference between a building project and a demolition. "It should be nothing more than a grass field when we're done."

The procurement of the demolition contract was also under the Federal Government Set‑Aside for Aboriginal Business, in accordance with the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business (PSAB). Furthermore, there is also a requirement to ensure a percentage of the work hours on site are completed by Aboriginal persons. This added a unique layer to the work as the DCC team established systems to make sure the requirements are realized.

The former headquarters of the Kapyong Barracks site is demolished.
The former headquarters of the Kapyong Barracks is demolished.

The work, which started in May 2019, includes removing 34 buildings, roads, parking lots, streetlights, water and steam lines as well as remediation of contaminated soils. All of the buildings are now gone, and hardscape is 70 per cent removed.

"It's landscape‑changing for the city, because it's so central," said Brunel, who explains that the change is already clear on the busy, central thoroughfare of the city.

The project is expected to be complete in October 2021.

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