Ming Sun Benevolent Society calls flooding of its building "suspicious"

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The City of Vancouver has boarded up a 122-year-old building in Japantown after it was flooded last night.

The Ming Sun building at 439 Powell Street has been at the centre of an ongoing controversy between the city and the owner and its occupant, the Instant Coffee Art Collective.

The city issued a news release saying Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services had responded to a call that water was coming out of the building.

"City building inspectors determined that sprinkler pipes likely burst due to the cold weather; pipe joints were found to be coming apart in multiple locations," the city stated. "As the building has now moved further into a state of disrepair, and there continues to be evidence that the property owner has not adequately secured the building as ordered, the City ordered it to be boarded up to prevent further access."

The Ming Sun Benevolent Society, which owns the building, has described the flooding as "suspicious".

Society spokesperson David Wong said in a news release this morning that the water supply had been turned off.

"In fact when we escorted the media and concerned individuals through our building over the past weeks to view the smashed sinks, broken hot water tanks, and overturned toilets...these fixtures had no water coming out of the supply pipes because all water had been shut off," Wong said. "Our sprinklers had also been drained this past fall."

The society has asked the police to investigate vandalism.

On December 6, the Strathcona Residents' Association chair, Pete Fry, wrote to the city asking that the city hold off on a planned demolition of the structure.

Fry alleged in his letter that the "demolition order is largely based on the removal of a non-structural brick veneer, which was damaged in the City's hasty demolition of the neighbouring building owned by a man with an admitted desire to 'develop the block' ".

In the first of three statements on the building issued since December 6, the city denied that the earlier demolition had any impact on the structural integrity of the Ming Sun building.

Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter @csmithstraight.

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Cold?

Dec 11, 2013 at 12:07pm

It's been cold lately....pipes burst...especially old badly maintained pipes in rundown buildings.

PeteFry

Dec 11, 2013 at 12:31pm

@ Cold?

True, that warmer weather would cause frozen pipes to burst - but who turned the water back on? I was one of those who joined media in visiting the site last week and I can tell you that exactly as Wong attests - the water had been shut off due to considerable theft of copper piping and destruction of plumbing fixtures

Terry Q

Dec 11, 2013 at 11:46pm

My guess is the same asshats (or their like-minded asshat friends) who smashed sinks, broke hot water tanks, overturned toilets, stole copper wiring, urinated on old photographs, and stole tenants' belongings on previous visits came back to wreak even more damage. Seems to be the most likely explanation. Welcome to the downtown eastside.

Cidric the Cynic

Dec 13, 2013 at 5:07pm

Seriously, if there weren't a bunch of snot nosed artists and 30 something intellectuals occupying the space no one would care. Tear it down and build a nice house for some people who work real jobs.

Friends of 439 Powell

Dec 14, 2013 at 12:21am

Hello...we have an online petition to Vancouver City Council here: goo.gl/rnJrzI and a website here: friendsof439.wordpress.com/ ...please stay in touch!

Atomic Insider Crimes

Dec 14, 2013 at 10:06am

Another insider crime from the overlords. How many fires and floods have occurred in desirable locations in the past ten years that encourage rabble and scum to get the hell out and hand the title over to the "right" people.

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