The former Plaza Hotel will be coming down shortly after most of the building was destroyed in a suspicious fire.
City council voted to approve a Heritage Alteration Permit for the site at 603-607 Pandora Ave. put forward by the developer, Ocean Gate Ltd. asking to demolish the remaining infrastructure, with city staff recommending it be done as soon as possible.
The only caveat put forward by the city’s heritage planning department was that certain aspects of the building’s remnants be salvaged and repurposed in the new project.
These aspects were discovered after city staff undertook a heritage assessment of the site on May 24, and include two polished granite columns, several white glazed bricks that had fallen from above, some heavy timbers that suffered little damage from the fire, and several 10-feet tall cast iron columns. Additionally, sidewalk glass prisms were found beneath the existing sidewalk.
Council asked about any potential dangers associated with the demolition of the site, including potential air pollutants.
Heritage Planner John O’Reilly said that the developer will work under the recommendations of WorkSafe BC to minimize potential hazards, and use tactics such as hosing down the rubble to minimize dust.
O’Reilly also said that Island Health advised the developer to reach out to surrounding businesses to “notify neighbours so they can take voluntary measures” to minimize potential dangers, such as deactivating their HVAC systems while the demolition is ongoing.
All councillors present approved the decision, though Coun. Jeremy Loveday and Coun. Ben Isitt were absent.
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