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This is what the Coliseum looks like today, and what you need to know about the redevelopment

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The city allowed media cameras into the old Coliseum building one last time on Friday before the building is demolished.

In December, council approved funding for the demolition of the building starting in 2025.

The demolition is expected to take 18 to 24 months.

"A lot of the work will be to remove everything that’s inside. So you’ve seen a lot of wires, there’s still a lot of equipment, furniture, all of this has to go," Pascale Ladouceur of the City of Edmonton told reporters.

"Then we’re going to tackle the hazardous materials. Asbestos, mold, lead paint, all of these things that were common in the 1970s, we’re going to have to remove and ensure that we do remediation and then we’re going to tackle the demolition of the actual structure itself. That should take place in 2026."

MICE, PIGEONS AND BATS

The building has been decommissioned for several years, and in that time has become home to some wildlife.

"We’ve got mice, pigeons. I haven’t seen any bats myself, but…somebody says there’s bats in here," said Eugene Gyfori of the City of Edmonton. "You’ve got the old air vents and vents for cooking that animals can still get into."

Ladourceur says special accommodations will have to be made to remove the bats under the Wildlife Act.

The former broadcast control room at the old Edmonton Coliseum.

"We can remove them, but we have to do it at a certain time in their reproductive cycle, and do it in a way that allows them to be relocated."

While the building is home to years of Edmonton Oilers hockey history, the physical memorabilia has been removed, which is evident in the old Oilers locker room.

The former Edmonton Oilers locker room in the old Coliseum.

The Edmonton Oilers dressing room at the old Coliseum building.

"Nothing stayed. Everybody obviously had some fairly strong nostalgia about this locker room," Gyfori said.

"Some of the players managed to grab their own lockers. Ryan Smyth’s apparently got a couple in his place."

Members of the media noted how much smaller the old locker room is than the new one at Rogers Place.

"What was kind of appropriate for an NHL team in 1972, 73, is comepletely different to 2016, right? Both ceiling height, size, probably number of lockers, everything. At the time it was the best locker room for the best team in the league," Gyfori said. 

Before the building was decommissioned, Ladouceur says the building was used briefly by the Edmonton Police Service.

"EPS used the facility very early on to do some tactical training and those were taking place back in 2017 or 2018."

Members of the media even found old shell casings from that training in the building on Friday.

A shell casing from Edmonton police training found inside the old Edmonton Coliseum.

Because of the building's location, the demolition of the coliseum will be a mechanical one, instead of using explosives, Ladouceur said.

"Think cranes, large mechanical equipment that would allow us to reach the different layers of the demolition that needs to take place."

"It’s not a good environment for an implosion, especially that we have the LRT right next door, large transportation corridors, it would be very difficult to manage the debris."

The funding for the demolition isn't available until 2025, so the building will remain dormant for another two years.

The stands at the old Coliseum building in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2023.

In that time, the city will spend about $1.25 million per year on maintenance and operations.

"It’s really important to keep the heat on because it could create more issues if we’re not heating the building. Pipes could burst, we still have water in here, we still have to keep a certain level of operation, but we do try to keep it at a minimum," Ladouceur said.

The seating area at the old Edmonton Coliseum.

It can't be used for other purposes for safety reasons.

"We need certain levels of permits for occupation, so right now we’re only doing very minimal use of it."

A former food service area at the old Edmonton Coliseum.

FUTURE PLANS FOR THE SITE

The city is preparing to sell off parcels of the former Nortlands land site for a new development, the Edmonton Exhibition Lands.

The development will be a mix of residential and mixed-use properties.

"We have an approved area redevelopment plan, the Exhibition Lands planning framework which was approved by council back in the spring of '21," said Lovey Grewal, project lead for Edmonton Exhibition Lands. "We’re currently imminent, weeks away from listing our first development parcels for sale with private industry development."

The development will be built by private partners, with the city adding roads and necessary infrastructure.

The land where the coliseum now sits will look entirely different.

"There’s plans for a new LRT station to be built here on 119 Ave. alongside the coliseum where it stands. Within the footprint here, we would envision an urban plaza, for gathering and for use of the transportation system, as well as mix and high-density residential and mixed use development."

Grewal says there has been talk of memorializing the hockey history of the land in some way, but there are no firm plans yet.

"The area will be delivered by private industry partners, so ultimately it will fall on them to decide how they want to honour, whether it’s this building or the history of the exhibition lands as a whole."

The Edmonton Expo Centre will remain in its current location, and will not be redeveloped.

The entire project is expected to take 20 to 30 years to be completed. 

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Evan Klippenstein.

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