The City of Vancouver has ordered the demolition on Monday (December 9) of a Downtown Eastside building that used to house seniors and an arts space.
Citing public safety, on December 2 the city directed property owner Ming Sun Benevolent Society to tear down the two-storey building that has 437, 439, and 441 Powell Street as its addresses.
A little over two weeks earlier, on November 15, the city advised the group that the building had been declared “unsafe”. It also ordered the demolition of the structure “immediately”.
David Wong is a descendant of one of the founders of the 88-year-old Chinese organization. According to the Vancouver architect, the group wants to restore the more than 100-year-old building, if the city approves.
“There’s a lot of architectural merit inside,” Wong told the Straight by phone. “It should be documented and not treated like a piece of trash.”
The building had been the home of the Instant Coffee Artist Collective. In a statement, the group called for a three-month extension of the demolition order.
It indicated that this would give its members the opportunity to clear out their belongings as well as giving the Ming Sun Benevolent Society and the police time to investigate vandalism that occurred in the building after a city vacate order.
City officials ordered upstairs SRO residents to vacate the premises in July after a wall from an adjoining building, at 451 Powell Street, partially collapsed on it.
The vacant building at 451 Powell was owned at the time by the Philippine Women Centre, and it previously served as the base of Filipino-Canadian organizations operating under the banner of the Kalayaan Centre (Freedom Centre). The property’s structure was demolished by the city on July 24.
In September, the Ming Sun Benevolent Society filed a court claim for damages against the Philippine Women Centre.
According to Wong, the case is still pending.