Shaun Payne

Shaun Payne

Regional District of Nanaimo orders clean up of Cassidy Inn site destroyed by fire

NANAIMO - Cassidy Inn Hotel burned to the ground in a fire in July.

Regional District of Nanaimo is ordering the owners of the Cassidy Inn Hotel to remove the charred remains of the building, which was destroyed by fire in early July.

The historic building, situated on 2954 Canyon Road, had been the subject of a previous order, but that was suspended in late June to allow for its owner – identified as a numbered company – to make the site safe.

On Tuesday, the board approved motions ordering the owner to demolish what’s left of the building, remove and legally dispose of any asbestos and other hazardous materials, and provide secure coverings for ground openings, including the well and wellhead.

According to a regional district staff report, the site continues to be unsafe with unsecured access to the property, significant burned building materials, and sharp and melted metal, including the roofing cover as well as a two-storey metal staircase.

Work must take place within 15 days of receipt of the notice, as opposed to the usual 30 days in the community charter, due to the health and safety risks it poses to the community. Furthermore, the owner will only have seven days with which to request reconsideration, as opposed to 14 days.

Alex Dutton, the owner’s legal counsel, did not return calls for comment. However, in Aug. 23 correspondence to Kathryn Stuart, regional district legal counsel, Dutton’s firm Cook Roberts LLP stated that the owner is attempting to address immediate concerns.

The owner has been in contact with B. King Construction Ltd. regarding cleanup and is also working to have fencing added from Steelguard Fence Ltd.

A report from C-Best Environmental, with work conducted July 15 and included with the correspondence, said there were asbestos fibres on the property.

There are a number of tanks on site, including two underground and one above, and Tom Armet, regional district building and bylaw services manager, said the responsibility is on the owner to determine what is contained within.

“The conditions changed as a result of the fire,” said Armet. “The unsafe condition of the property though is still a large concern. It’s just different factors now that have come into play, which is why it was brought back to the board in this fashion.”