THE City of Vancouver’s Chief Building Official issued an order on Tuesday requiring the demolition of the Balmoral Hotel due to numerous life safety concerns. The building poses a risk of injury to the public and persons adjacent to the building in the event of a fire or similar incident.
The City said that despite its ongoing efforts to maintain the safety of the building, the decades of underinvestment and mismanagement by the building’s previous owners was irreversible. After receiving two, third party engineering reports on the current fire and structural risks it became clear that the building has deteriorated to the point that it poses a danger to the public and adjacent buildings.
Demolition planning has commenced and staff will work expeditiously to execute the order. Given the age, complexity and condition of the building, removing the building will take several months to complete. The City is actively working to engage contractors to scope and complete this work.
Once the demolition and environmental clean-up is accomplished, the City will activate the vacant site until the time it is redeveloped to create new affordable housing in partnership with BC Housing.
In December 2020, it was reported that the City of Vancouver had reached a settlement with the owners of the Balmoral and Regent hotels to expropriate the properties.
The City said in a statement at the time: “After many years of enforcement and legal action against the owners, who oversaw decades of underinvestment, unaddressed life-safety issues resulted in the closure of these two derelict buildings in 2017 and 2019.
“The City approved expropriation of the buildings in late 2019 in order to bring these properties into public ownership to be converted into social housing. The owners then filed for a judicial review of the City’s expropriation.
“In the petition for judicial review, Parkash Kaur Sahota, 90, and Pal Singh Sahota, 81, are identified as the owners of the properties.
“The decision to settle with the property owners was made by the City to mitigate the financial risk posed by the upcoming judicial review and potential claims for greater compensation, and to enable staff to begin planning for community engagement on the future of the properties.”
A background on the Balmoral Hotel is available online.