City of Vancouver will evacuate and relocate residents at rundown Balmoral Hotel

Jun 3 2017, 1:15 am

The City of Vancouver will evacuate and relocate Balmoral Hotel residents from “imminent danger.”

The city’s Chief Building Official determined that the hotel’s structural and fire concerns are unsafe. As a result, the City has issued an order to cease the occupancy of Balmoral as of June 12 to ensure repairs are completed so the building does not collapse.

“Evacuating and relocating tenants from the Balmoral was a last resort decision but it is clear from the professional assessment of the building that the imminent risk is too great for the residents to remain,” the City said in a statement.

Balmoral’s history of problems

The Balmoral Hotel is located at 159 Hastings Street. The building is Single Room Accommodation (SRA) hotel owned by the Sahota family.

The Sahotas, the City claims; have a poor track record with the Vancouver Police Department, the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, and staff from the City’s Buildings and Property Use team.

The family also owns several other low-income hotels located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside including the Astoria and the Cobalt.

The Balmoral has had a history of upkeep and structural problems. In fall 2016, the hotel topped the City’s list of the most at-risk buildings in Vancouver. The City says the hotel currently has 150 outstanding deficiencies.

Hotel residents have been ordered to evacuate the building over the next several days and several community partners will work to ensure that they are relocated to safe shelters.

The City says they expect the Sahota family to start repairs immediately once the tenants have evacuated. If the Sahota family does not comply, the City will complete the work and charge the family for the repair costs.

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