YOU ASKED:At the corner of Fourth Avenue and Victoria Street - just outside Zack's coffee - a section of the sidewalk is sinking. It's barricaded and been like that for a while. I know there used to be secret underground rooms at one time; I'm just wondering is the sidewalk caving in?
- Al Workentine
OUR ANSWER:The City's manager of streets was our go-to guy for this question, and Jim McNeely says you are correct in your assertion that an underground room is part of the problem.
"Over several years, that panel of sidewalk had settled adjacent to the building to the degree that there was the potential for water to seep into the building rather than drain to the gutter," said McNeely.
So a City crew began to cut out the affected panel of sidewalk in order to replace it, but the workers discovered a steel plate underneath.
"We think that was placed on the top of the encroachment in order to support the sidewalk," said McNeely.
The problem is, having cut the plate, the City is uncertain about the structural integrity of that part of the sidewalk, so it has been barricaded until McNeely's department and an engineer can find a solution.
By the way, there are other sections of sidewalk in downtown Kamloops that cover former shafts and doorways. These date back to the city's early days, when businesses loaded supplies from street level into storage rooms and boilers underground.