Mysterious mishap dislodges Alma pillar

Alma College suffered further indignity this week when a granite column at the front entrance to the property was dislodged by a work vehicle.

Apart from the remains of the amphitheatre, the two columns and fencing at the entrance off Moore Street are among the few remnants of the former school for girls that succumbed to arsonists on May 28, 2008.

30jt04almajpgA construction crew was at the site around 2:30 a.m. Monday when a vehicle hit the column, toppling it and separating the cap from the main pillar.

London developer Gino Reale, who purchased the 11-acre site in March of this year from the Zubick family of London, was uncertain as to why the workers chose to enter the property in the middle of the night.  

“They’re supposed to be taking all the stone off the property by the end of December so maybe that’s why they were over there. But I don’t know why they would be over at 2:30 in the morning. It sounds like they went to pull something off the site to take to another work site for Monday morning. They start early.”

Reale doubted it was a case of individuals pilfering material from the rubble-strewn site.
“I’m not thinking somebody was over there trying to steal that. I’m on it. You know I’m on these things.”


Gino Reale of London stands outside the gate of the former Alma College with the music building and chapel still standing.

He insisted the column would be righted Tuesday, which it was shortly after the noon hour.

The middle-of-the-night antics prompted neighbour Dawn Doty — who lives across from the front entrance — to post on Facebook, “It is the Wild West Show . . . no rules . . . they come all hours of the day or night . . . this is a mess!”

Reale assured he would promptly have matters in hand.

“I’ve been on this since yesterday (Monday) morning.”

He added environmental testing is expected to be completed next month after an underground tank ruptured during removal, leaking a small amount of fuel into the soil. The testing will determine whether it has migrated.

There has been interest expressed in several proposals for the Moore Street property, Reale advised.

“There are a number of people who are looking at different things, of course the retirement home is front and centre. Apartment buildings are also in the discussion.

“I don’t want to commit to anything until I get the water results back. Then I will be in a position to talk to the city. At this point, my interest is to do the cleanup.”

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