Air quality tests underway 2 weeks after fire at Banff’s Mount Royal Hotel
It’s been two weeks since a fire ravaged Banff’s Mount Royal Hotel, impacting the iconic building, along with the businesses below it.
Air quality tests inside the property were underway Friday and structural engineers had identified some potential stability hazards. As a result, the building was covered in scaffolding as a safety precaution. One lane of Banff Avenue will be closed to traffic until Jan. 20.
Many business owners are hoping to get into the store beneath the hotel to begin cleanup next week.
“Today we had a meeting…and Monday morning we are allowed to go in and empty our stores and start the rebuilding process,” Tommy Soukas said.
Soukas owns Tommy’s Neighbourhood Pub, which is still intact after the fire. His wife runs The Banff Candy Store, which was destroyed.
The family is ready to start repairs and hopes to reopen the popular shop in May.
There were 46 full-time employees of the hotel and dozens of others working at other stores impacted by the fire. Jobs have been found for 80 per cent of the Mount Royal staff. Travel and tour company Brewsters hopes to find positions for the rest of its staff by the end of the month.
Friday night is the big kickoff to SnowDays in Banff, including a street party.
Despite the fire, the message from tourism officials is that Banff is very much open for business. Visitors are advised to be aware of the detour.
Officials said the best way to get around the townsite is to bundle up and walk.
Brewsters hopes to have more answers on the hotel and business rebuild plan by the end of January.
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