Smokestack could collapse, says resident

According to Greenwood resident Christopher Stevenson, the city’s landmark smelter stack is in need of a thorough assessment.

Detail of smokestack brickwork:  efflorescence is noticeable on smelter bricks

Detail of smokestack brickwork: efflorescence is noticeable on smelter bricks

The City of Greenwood may just lose one of its most historically significant icons if steps aren’t taken to assess and repair it.

According to Greenwood resident Christopher Stevenson, the city’s landmark smelter stack is in need of a thorough assessment as to its viability going forward.

“The stack base has deteriorated significantly,” Stevenson said, “showing missing bricks, erosion, cracking and decay that weren’t there even just a few years back. We need to decide if the structure is important to us, because if we do nothing it will collapse.”

Stevenson also noticed water damage (efflorescence) and says that the enormous weight on the base of the structure, left unrepaired, will lead to the stack’s transformation into a big pile of bricks.

Stevenson, a former city councillor, had raised the issue during his time on council, but the cost of repair was deemed too high and nothing was done.

The stack was actually repaired a number of years ago, and even had spotlights installed to illuminate it at night, but it soon fell prey to defacement and sabotage and the lights were removed. Since then, the stack has sat largely ignored. Access is easy, and the risk of accidents extreme.

Mayor Ed Smith agrees that the stack needs some TLC and more security to discourage trespassers while the stack is being assessed. He also acknowledged that little had been done to improve the site since he moved to Greenwood in 2008 but that he would like to work with council and the community to best serve the future of structure.

Stevenson would like to see funding for an assessment and necessary repairs, the creation of a conservation plan and regular care and maintenance.