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Vancouver moves to expropriate two hotels closed over ‘life safety concerns’


VANCOUVER – The City of Vancouver is moving to assume ownership of two decaying hotels on the Downtown Eastside that had been home to some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.

The city announced it has filed a notice of expropriation for the Balmoral and Regent hotels, which were both closed over health and safety concerns.

It says in a news release that the buildings were closed due to decades of mismanagement by the owners resulting in structural and life-safety concerns.

More than 300 of the city’s lowest income tenants needed to be relocated when the buildings were shut down.

The city says it made an offer to the owners to purchase both hotels for a value based on independent appraisals but the offer was rejected, and the owners now have the option of asking for an inquiry before council considers the expropriation.

No one from the Sahota family, which owns the two properties, was immediately available for comment and the family’s lawyer, Michael Katzalay, says he hasn’t had an opportunity to discuss the matter with them.

When the city shut down the Regent Hotel last month, Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement that it had been the subject of more than 1,000 outstanding bylaw violations, including 445 that were referred for prosecution.

Last year, the city filed 60 charges alleging bylaw infractions in relation to the Balmoral Hotel over breaches it said included failure to maintain walls, ceilings and floors to adequate standards and unacceptable plumbing facilities.

Copyright (c) 2018 The Canadian Press