Satellite image showing road closure at Union Street and Main Street in Almonte
This document was updated with additional information on November 30, 2023. 

Why is this an issue? The building has been there a long time and looks fine.

The property owner’s engineer submitted a report to the Municipality on October 4, 2023. A special meeting of Council was held October 6, 2023. At that meeting, Council heard from the Chief Building Official that the owner’s engineer raised significant safety concerns and is of the opinion that winter weather will cause additional negative impacts to the building.
After receiving this report, the Municipality engaged its own structural engineering experts to review the owner’s engineering report, undertake an inspection of the building and provide the Municipality with a second engineering report. The Municipality received this engineering report on Thursday, November 23, and the Municipality’s structural engineering experts have confirmed the safety concerns for both the public and the tenants of the building. The report also concluded that action needs to be taken because winter weather will cause further damage to the building.

Why is the road being closed?

The road closure decision was made to ensure the safety of tenants at 38 Main Street East and the public. Based on an independent third party engineering review of the interior and exterior of the building it was deemed a public safety concern and that action needed to be taken immediately due to the weather and stability of portions of the building. The Municipality received the engineers report on Thursday, November 23 and immediately issued an order to the owner of the building to close the street by 4:00 p.m, on Friday, November 24.

Who makes the decision to close the road?

The order issued by the Chief Building Official directed the owner to request the temporary road closure to protect the public and tenants. This request had to be made by a specific time otherwise the owner was in breach of the order. The decision to close a road is made by the Director of Roads and Public Works under the authority granted by Council to the Director in By-law 02-103 (Delegated Authority – Temporary Close a Municipal Highway). Even if the owner does not request the closure, the Director can still implement the temporary closure based on their determination of the appropriate actions, as per By-law 02-103.

How long will it be closed?

There is currently no date identified to lift the road closure. It will remain closed until the concerns with the safety of the building are addressed.

Why is this decision being made now?

This decision is not being made lightly by the Municipality. Upon receipt of the engineer’s report, the Municipality had to take steps to ensure the protection of tenants in the building and the safety of the public.

Who made the decision?

The order to the owner of 38 Main Street East was issued by the Chief Building Official under their authority and responsibility of the Building Code Act. The road closure was approved and reviewed by the Director of Roads and Public Works in consultation with other senior staff, engineers and the municipal solicitor.
The Director of Roads and Public Works has the authority to authorize temporary road closures in emergency situations and where the health and safety of residents is at risk.

What about the tenants of the building?

Staff are in contact with Lanark County Social Services regarding the matter and have provided contact information for assistance to tenants of the building.

Will residents still have access to homes on Union and Main Street East?

All residents in the area will continue to have access to their homes and driveways with the exception of those living in the units at 38 Main Street East.
Residents directly affected by the closure on Union Street South, Main Street (between Martin and Union streets), and Main Street (between the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail and Union Street), will receive a hand-delivered notification as those residents will see the greatest impact.
The residents on Union Street South will only have access in one direction. In order to facilitate the closure and maintain traffic flow in the safest manner possible, Union Street South will need to be a one-way street with traffic permitted to travel from Main Street to Queen Street.

What about garbage collection and snow plowing?

There will be no impact to garbage collection or snow clearing for the properties affected by the road closure. The road closure was designed to ensure that all municipal services can continue to be provided.

What are the next steps?

Additional orders from the Municipality’s Chief Building Official will be made to the property owner regarding the stability of the building. Failure to comply with those orders will require the Municipality to take further action.

How does this affect the Santa Claus Parade?

The road closure will alter the route for the Santa Claus Parade that traditionally travels on Main Street. An alternate route has been identified. The parade will leave from Almonte Civitan Club at 5 p.m. sharp. With the help of the OPP, it will cross Highway 29 and travel down Almonte Street. Next, the parade will make a right turn on Mill Street, travel through downtown and make another right on Bridge Street, ending at the John Levi Community Centre.

What does the Building Code say about unsafe buildings? 

 Section 15.9 of the Ontario Building Code Act provides specific provisions and rules to follow for a Chief Building Official when dealing with an unsafe building.  

How is a building deemed unsafe?  

The Building Code says that Building Inspectors can enter buildings to undertake inspections to determine if a building is unsafe and provides a specific direction of what an unsafe building is.  

Specifically, the Building Code Act states:  

Inspection of unsafe buildings 

15.9(1) An inspector may enter upon land and into buildings at any reasonable time without a warrant for the purpose of inspecting a building to determine, 

(a) whether the building is unsafe; or 

(b) whether an order made under subsection (4) has been complied with. 2002, c.9, s.26. 


15.9 (2) A building is unsafe if the building is, 

(a) structurally inadequate or faulty for the purpose for which it is used; or 

(b) in a condition that could be hazardous to the health or safety of persons in the normal use of the building, persons outside the building or persons whose access to the building has not been reasonably prevented. 2002, c.9, s.26. 

For 38 Main Street East, the Municipality received an engineering report on Thursday, November 23, and in this report the Municipality’s structural engineering experts confirmed the safety concerns for both the public and the tenants of the building. The report also concluded that action needs to be taken because winter weather will cause further damage to the building.  

If a building is considered unsafe, what does the Chief Building Official do?  

The Chief Building Official is responsible for ensuring that the Building Code and Ontario Building Code Act is followed in the Municipality and if a building or portion of a building is considered unsafe, the Chief Building Official can issue orders to require the building to be repaired within a certain timeframe. These orders need to be served to the registered owner(s)of the building and anyone that the Chief Building Official deems to be affected by the order. The orders can also be posted on-site depending on the type of order that is issued.  

Specifically, the Building Code Act states:  


15.9 (4) An inspector who finds that a building is unsafe may make an order setting out the reasons why the building is unsafe and the remedial steps necessary to render the building safe and may require the order to be carried out within the time specified in the order. 2002, c. 9, s. 26. 

Service and posting 

15.9 (5) The order under subsection (4) shall be served on the registered owner and each person apparently in possession of the building and such other persons affected by the order as the chief building official determines and a copy of the order may be posted on the site of the building in a location visible to the public. 2017, c. 34, Sched. 2, s. 12 (1). 

For 38 Main Street East, the first order that was issued was to temporary close the road because the engineering report that was provided to the Municipality indicated that the tower portion of the building could collapse. The area around the building is referred to the ‘exclusion zone’, the area where no one is permitted to cross because of the concern with building’s structure. A second order was issued to restrict access to the building from within the exclusion zone. This included access to some of the units within the building because the only way a person can access these units is through the exclusion zone.  

What about people living in the building?  

The safety of residents is a serious issue and not one that the Municipality takes lightly. If people have to cross the exclusion zone to access their unit, it is a serious issue because of the structural issues with the building. The Chief Building Official can issue an order that prohibits people from occupying a building but cannot forcefully remove an occupant from a building.  

Specifically, the Building Code Act states: 

Order respecting occupancy 

15.9 (6) If an order of an inspector under subsection (4) is not complied with within the time specified in it, or where no time is specified, within a reasonable time, the chief building official, 

(a) may by order prohibit the use or occupancy of the building; and 

(b) may cause the building to be renovated, repaired or demolished to remove the unsafe condition or take such other action as he or she considers necessary for the protection of the public.  2002, c. 9, s. 26. 

For 38 Main Street East, if an order is required that prohibits occupancy, the owner of the property and any occupants of the property will be formally notified by the Chief Building Official; however, the Chief Building Official cannot forcefully remove a person from a building or premises.  

Where can we receive updates on the situation?

Updates on the temporary road closure will be posted to the municipal website and social media channels. There will also be signs identifying detours.
Additional questions can be directed to Melanie Knight, Acting Director of Development Services and Engineering, at