Godzilla at 1401 Comox has been stopped — until Tuesday

Thousands of West End residents were jolted by what felt like earthquakes after 7:30 am this morning. But by mid-morning all was quiet. Birds were singing, and the heavy demolition equipment sat quietly in the morning sun. All workers have been sent home and only the security guard remains on site. Below is a report of the status, gleaned from various citizen sources. Thankfully, it appears the peace will continue until Tuesday. To our knowledge, neither the owners of the property nor the City have provided any information publicly (as of 1 pm) on this matter.

  • Work has apparently stopped until Tuesday, May 24, 2011. This is fortunate, as Westbank/Peterson were likely planning to continue on Saturday this long weekend.
  • Citizens inquiries have been conveyed to the following: Mayor and Council, Office of Property Use, City Manager, Director of Planning, Assistant Director of Current Planning, Rezoning Centre Planner, and Engineering Services. No response has been received (as of 1 pm today).
  • The tremors were caused by large Hitachi demolition equipment smashing concrete blocks to extract metal reinforcement bar. An alternative might be to truck the blocks off-site to do this work elsewhere, but it’s probably only a cost factor.
  • Thousands of residents live within the shock zone of this demolition site.
  • City Hall, Westbank, Peterson, and Henriquez have not provided any information to the public about the planned demolition work schedule, hours and days. Not a single sign is posted. The City has been asked to provide more information to the public as soon as possible.
  • Construction hours normally allowed on private property are Monday to Friday (7:30 am to 8 pm), Saturday (10 am to 8 pm), and NO construction permitted on Sundays and holidays. Perhaps the West End should seek a modification to respect the fact that this is one of the most heavily populated neighbourhood of Vancouver.
  • It is not clear whether or not the City or anyone is conducting real-time monitoring of noise, ground vibrations or other emissions (possibly containing asbestos fibres) from this site. Workers have already been there for days with no protective masks.
  • The possibility of asbestos fibres being emitted from the site is being considered by the City: File number is 181985.
  • It is clear that the owners of the property are failing to preserve the livability of our neighbourhood. The City has not been proactive. This task has been left for citizens to do themselves.
  • Neighbours are encouraged to keep a notebook to record the dates and times of any unreasonable disturbances from this demolition. This information may be important in the future.
  • If you feel it necessary, you are encouraged to report concerns to the city by calling 311 or e-mailing inf@vancouver.ca. Keep note of the time, date, and content of your call for future reference.
  • If you believe a specific bylaw has been violated, you may wish to initiate freedom of information inquiry to learn if the incident was investigated, whether or not the bylaw was violated, and what remedies were taken.
  • This incident is an important case and raises a whole new issue. Should special regulations (work hours, real-time monitoring of bylaw compliance, etc.) be in place for major demolition and construction projects in the City’s most densely-populated areas? To be continued.
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