Victoria staff recommend fast-tracked cleanup, salvage at Plaza Hotel site
Remnants of timber that city staff want salvaged from the rubble of the Plaza Hotel fire. (City of Victoria)
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Monday, June 10, 2019 11:56AM PDT
Last Updated Monday, June 10, 2019 3:52PM PDT
Victoria city staff are advising council to fast-track the demolition of the Plaza Hotel building after a devastating fire left the site in ruins last month.
Staff are recommending the city approve a heritage alteration permit "as soon as possible," so that the property owner can complete the remediation of the site "in view of the urgency of alleviating the hazard to the public," according to a June 5 staff report.
However, the recommendation that council approve a speedy demolition of the site comes with some architectural caveats.
Staff are recommending that certain pieces of the historic building are salvaged, namely; two round polished granite columns that flanked the original entryway of the Westholme Hotel from the early 1900s; some white-glazed brick from the building's upper storeys; some heavy timber beams; cast iron columns from the building's Government St. façade.
"Sidewalk glass prisms have also been found beneath the existing Government Street sidewalk that are intact and retain heritage value," according to the report.
The recommendation comes in response to a May 29 application from Plaza Hotel owners Ocean Gate Developments, asking the city to allow the developer to clean up the site and present a redevelopment plan to the city "in the next few months."
Victoria councillors will consider the recommendation at their June 13 committee of the whole meeting.
An investigation into the Plaza Hotel fire is ongoing and the fire is considered suspicious. The building's live-in caretaker remains unaccounted for since the May 6 blaze.