Anton calls for independent inquiry of demolition disaster

Post by Mike Klassen in

24 comments

demolition crash
"The Great Crash"  – one councillor is asking for an independent investigation

The Georgia Straight and CKNW News are now reporting that Coun. Suzanne Anton is calling for an independent probe of the City of Vancouver's process for managing demolition projects, and to make the findings of that probe available to the public.

In a release from Saturday Anton states, “A serious accident that nearly resulted in injury or death like the one we saw on Thursday should be investigated. It’s incumbent upon council to ensure that the people we allow to build in Vancouver are taking every safety precaution in the book.”

Anton added that building permits and land zoning is at the core of Council’s responsibility “You’d be forgiven some days thinking that Vancouver city hall is being turned into the provincial legislature with all of the focus the Mayor places on social and environmental issues,” adds Anton. “The fact is we’re still a city and Mayor Robertson should be taking an active interest in the safety of pedestrians and commuters. So far haven’t heard a peep from him.”

Anton also believes the YouTube video, which is drawing over 100,000 viewers per day, is damaging Vancouver’s reputation. It’s estimated that the video will have about 1,000,000 views around the world by week’s end. This would make it the biggest globally distributed story about Vancouver since the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Failing any response from the Mayor, Anton promises to bring a motion to the next meeting of city council asking for a full independent inquiry with the results made available to the public.

More on this story here from The Province newspaper. The original story about the demolition crash was reported first here on CityCaucus.com on Friday morning, and the story has since gone viral with nearly 160,000 views of the YouTube video over the past 2 days.

24 Comments

Interesting excerpt from the online Vancouver Sun story on this topic today:

"I think there may have been a perception that, 'wow, there could have been a person there.' but the traffic control people [were on site]. ...I know the demolition contractor had traffic persons keeping people away from the danger zone," he said.

"As I understand the city doesn't want to shut down streets for projects of that size. So generally the traffic people block people and traffic at certain times when there are hazardous maneuvers," Schouw [the developer] said.

How can the City investigate itself and what role it played in this near tragedy? Will we really get to the bottom of this? I somehow doubt they will find their own rules at fault. They'll likely just blame the developer and excavation company. Clearly this calls for some sort of independent review. But it isn't going to happen if you leave it up to the bureaucrats to decide. Anton is on the right track and should keep up the pressure.

Interesting if you look at the second wall falling video posted on Youtube. Cars were driving by there mere seconds before the light standard came crashing into the street. Just imagine if the lamp standard had crashed into the windshield of that taxi which drove by there only seconds before. Clearly traffic was not halted during this portion of the demolition. This stinks.

'They'll likely just blame the developer and excavation company.'

*****

Or, the previous NPA Council....

Independent enquiry, what a waste of time and money. The fault for this cleary lands at the feet of the excavation company, especially the excavator operator. Everything else was done right. The sidewalk was closed, the curb lanes were stripped of parking, they had traffic control.

Clearly you aren't watching the same YouTube video the rest of us have. Are u kidding? You can clearly see cars and people moving about everywhere near this location. That lamp standard came tumbling down right onto the street where cars were driving.

I can see the vision apologists are beginning to wake up from their Sunday morning slumber and are in full butt covering mode once again. Just admit that we should get an independent assessment of what happened here and make sure it doesn't happen again. I don't believe this is an isolated case. Do you know something I don't? Had someone been killed or seriously hurt, I'm sure you would change your tune.

"Everything else was done right."

According to this Global report: http://www.globaltvbc.com/video/index.html?releasePID=1luSm7b3YbOQ4l8LnmwWbsF6vkIravb_

Everything was NOT done right.

A demolition permit was issued, yet no demolition plan was submitted and the City Inspector was not on site. Why?

It's fitting that Vision supporters would shrug this off. They hold 4 fingers up and try to convince you there are 5.

Gregor off on vacation again?

Who is this mystery City inspector who is supposed to be on site at 6 in the evening? I have also never heard of a demolition plan?

Bob, it sounds like you have some knowledge of how demolitions are undertaken and the city's involvement.

Perhaps you can enighten us on the steps involved. Then let us know the circumstances by which a public safety officer wasn't on site either.

" Independent review"
Isn't that what WorkSafe BC will do?

@BobR. The Worksafe review is strictly about worker safety. It will not be a public report detailing if the City could have improved its' own process to ensure the "public" is safe. You remember the public don't you? We're otherwise known as pedestrians, cyclists and yeah, voters.

I don't believe the worksafe investigation will be broad enough in scope to get to the bottom of this fiasco. After all, isn't this demolition debacle a city responsibility???? Why leave the investigation to a provincial agency?

Has anyone heard from Gregor yet? Has Kevin and Magee told him the coast is clear and he can come out of hiding now? Obviously not.

@Dennis. In case you missed it, the mayor was on the news tonight. He's been too busy attending the mixed martial arts fights to tend to this "minor" event. I'd laugh if this wasn't such a serious issue.

Try this view, if you want to jump outta your shorts...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-nYq1ujVsw&feature=related

I hope Singh Penasars of the excavation and demolition company stops saying they did nothing wrong or nobody got killed so it's okay. The casual and callous attitude of these idiots is unbelievable.

The Thought of The Day

"For some people, money and financial planning means savings, investments or RRSP contributions. These are the almost lucky ones. For others, the same is achieved by praying, humming lighting candles and then playing the Lottery or gambling at the Casino. These are the lucky ones. But the really, really, lucky ones, got recent jobs with the City of Vancouver. Their qualifications? Vision ties to a Holly Hock. And it shows."

A few more things to add though. We have a Juice Maker as Mayor, an MD as City Manager, a Structural Engineer as Chief Electrician, and a Talking Suite and Tie as Deputy.

In conclusion, I hope the city dog to be a cat and not a rat.

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Greenest City? Is all that material being reclaimed, or sent to the dump? I don't understand why this material is not being recycled, rather than thrown in our landfill. So much for greenest city, what a load of whooo-eeee. Congrats to the videographer for his work, you're an unsung hero for exposing this.

Thanks for providing this other viewpoint. Man, were there a lot of cell phone videos running, or what?

You know what else I don't understand - the City says they charged the demo company $4000 for the replacement of the lamp standard. To me that sounds like a sweet deal.

You've got a lamp standard, plus the cobra head lamp. Plus you've got the crew installing a temporary signal. Then you've got to make repairs to the base, possibly replacing cracked or sheared bolts in concrete on the base. Plus you've got to send a crew to put in the permanent replacement unit. To me the bill sounds much larger than four grand.

Note that in the first video the wall smacks the lamp standard on the Helmcken side too. Not sure if it was only rattled, or also needed repairs.

"I hope the city dog to be a cat and not a rat"
I think you nailed this one Glissando! What you didn't know? We are governed by a bunch of rats doing what they love to do most. Screwing their brains out on finding new ways on how to damage this city even more. And of course, multiplying in a ratty manner too! What on Stupid Planet were these construction guys thinking? The first collapse was unexpected, unprepared for and very close to a disaster. The second one was pure stupidity, incompetence and totally expected. But, shhhh, don't tell that to the happy planet people.

This is an amazing video, a definite must see.
How close a call was that...very frighting.

I think that the mayor and council thought that because this story broke on a Friday afternoon that it would be quickly forgotten! It's Monday and still very much being talked about.

Why are people trying to make this political? This should have been a routine demo as done a 100 times before in the city, the only difference is obviously this contractor should stick to knocking down Surrey crack shacks! Revoke their business license, send them back to Surrey, end of story.

Anton is quite the alarmist it seems. This video has had less than 200,000 views and she says it's "ruining the city's reputation"? Give me a break this has barely been reported outside of western Canada.

Yes, how very true. They also have said that Hornby was closed to traffic at the time, when it clearly was not.

Actually, it was on The National and this is a grade A example for "FAIL" on Youtube. I think it has legs.

This was very close to being a much bigger issue than many people think.

And the handing off of this issue to Worksafe is a smokescreen.

It's simple: Suspend Karm Panesar and his Global Excavation and Demolition's license, or at least give them a massive fine for endangering the lives and property of Vancouverites. Anything short of that is a joke. But this is Vancouver.

I own a reputable demolition company. I hope that people will not lump us all into the same category as 'global'. We are not all bad. When I watched the video I was cringing after the first 3 seconds. Everything was done incorrectly. Those people were incompetent and dangerous. My company did a building at the foot of the granville bridge last year. I felt that it was safe to use the excavator to take the block walls down but to be extra safe we hand dismantled the walls that we felt were a tiny bit 'risky'. It cost my company $8000 but guess what, there was no damage, no close call, no disturbance and zero risk to the public!! Our developer paid the bill and was happy knowing that things were done right! There is no room for compromise when it comes to demolition and safety. Oh, and just for the record, we recycle all wood, all concrete, all metal, drywall etc. Usually we are able to recycle 85-95 percent of what we demolish!!

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