Cowichan News Leader

Red Balloon being lowered back to earth

After months of repairs that left it suspended 10 to 12 feet above the ground, the Red Balloon building in downtown Duncan is scheduled to return to its foundation this morning. - Andrew Leong/file
After months of repairs that left it suspended 10 to 12 feet above the ground, the Red Balloon building in downtown Duncan is scheduled to return to its foundation this morning.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

The Red Balloon Toy Shop is coming back to earth, resulting in disruptions in downtown Duncan Tuesday and Wednesday.

Duane Beausoleil of Rock Steady Restorations said the store at the corner of Station and Craig Streets is currently on stilts, but will be lowered to its foundation around 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Renovation work on the store has been extensive and will be continuing for quite some time yet.

"I think we've been at it a year already,'' said Beausoleil.

"You go from a little job and it's endless. About six or seven months we found all these bones. We had to shut down the site. It turned out to be deer.''

While Nickel Brothers movers and Rock Steady conduct work on lowering the building, downtown will be shut down. Craig Street will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday while Station Street reopens Wednesday after being blocked off Tuesday.

"Basically, the building is 10 to 12 feet up in the air and we're just dropping it down,'' said Beausoleil.

Many people are expected to congregate downtown to witness it.

"We thought it would be something for the people to see,'' said Beausoleil.

During the entire project, "we're trying to save the building because of its age,'' he added.

The restoration work started in March last year and "we ran into obstacles throughout,'' said Beausoleil.

After it's lowered, "we figure we're not going to be done 'til October by the time we do the project,'' he added. "We have to frame the inside of the lower floor.''

The owner is also considering adding some residential units above the store, Beausoleil indicated.

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