Pigeon Park closed due to falling debris. Was heritage building allowed to deteriorate?


Pidgeon Park closedPigeon Park has been fenced off. Large chunks of concrete fell off the façade of the building at 1 West Hastings on August 13, 2014. Miraculously no one was injured. Several photos of the park are included below.

A CTV report on the falling debris stated: “Millions of dollars in city incentives were offered to a major city developer and a feisty non-profit to restore the Merchants Bank building on Hastings Street — but the work was never done. Instead, the building was left to disintegrate while owned by Concord Pacific and the Portland Hotel Society, until a huge stone panel came crashing down Wednesday, nearly crushing a man sleeping in Pigeon Park.” (story by Jon Woodward on August 14, 2014)

The Merchants Bank Building, Category A listed heritage building was constructed in 1913 at the corner of Carrall Street and West Hastings. Pigeon Park is a popular square in the Downtown Eastside. The City of Vancouver has posted a “Do Not Occupy” notice on the building on August 14, 2014 stating “Danger, this building is considered a hazard and is unsafe”. The Vancouver Sun and CBC have also documented the closure of Pigeon Park that resulted from falling debris.
Pidgeon Park rubber

The falling rubble did not hit any bystanders this time around. But that weight falling from that height could have killed a person. An open question is what will be done proactively to prevent similar events from happening in the future? Also, imagine debris falling from a building in Kerrisdale. Would a response there get different level of attention and care? 

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