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Vancouver’s notorious Balmoral Hotel slated for demolition due to safety risk

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The City of Vancouver has ordered the demolition of the notorious Balmoral Hotel on the Downtown Eastside – Feb 15, 2022

The City of Vancouver has slated the ageing downtown Balmoral Hotel for demolition, citing a swath of safety risks posed by the aging building.

The demolition order sent Tuesday identifies a dozen hazards, including rotten floors, beams and walls, damaged electrical systems, moisture in the building, unprotected fire sprinklers and more.

The single-room occupancy (SRO) hotel was last inspected Jan. 5 after a significant water leak was caused by the fire sprinkler system freezing. Staff reported it has deteriorated since its evacuation in 2017.

Read more: Heat still not fully restored at Vancouver SRO where residents have been cold since Christmas

“Despite the city’s ongoing efforts to maintain the safety of the building, the decades of underinvestment and mismanagement by the building’s previous owners was irreversible,” said the City of Vancouver in a Tuesday news release.

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“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.”

The municipality expropriated the Balmoral Hotel and another Downtown Eastside SRO, the Regent Hotel, in December 2020. The intent at the time was to turn both into secure, low-income housing.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver SRO residents say they’ve been left in the cold' Vancouver SRO residents say they’ve been left in the cold
Vancouver SRO residents say they’ve been left in the cold – Dec 29, 2021

In December 2017, the city referred nearly 500 building violations related to the Regent Hotel to prosecutors.

Two years later, the owners of both the Regent and Balmoral pleaded to a number of bylaw violations related to the derelict state of the buildings and paid more than $150,000 in fines.

They faced 60 charges related to deplorable living conditions at the Balmoral alone.

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READ MORE: Owners of notorious Vancouver SROs fined just $150k over hundreds of violations

On Tuesday, the municipality said demolition planning for the Balmoral has already begun, but the tear-down will take several months “given the age, complexity and condition of the building.”

No one at the city was available for an interview on this story.

When the demolition and environmental cleanup is complete, the municipality will “activate the vacant site” until it can be redeveloped for affordable housing with BC Housing, read the release.

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