Missing note on Pandora Street report raises further questions

Post by Mike Klassen in ,

50 comments


Newly released information on page 3 of this Pandora Street inspection report

CityCaucus.com has obtained new information relating to the tragic Pandora Street fire which resulted in the deaths of three individuals on December 22, 2010. A heretofore unreleased "Note to File" indicates that on the morning of December 8, 2010 Property Use senior manager Carlene Robbins posted a "recheck order" on 2862 Pandora Street referring her superiors Will Johnson and/or Tom Hammel to follow up on the property.

The note to file – printed on page three of the above attached report – was not released to the media despite the fact that all other files relating to Pandora Street were given to journalist Chad Skelton of the Vancouver Sun for his December 23rd story on the fire deaths. The documents relating to 2862 Pandora Street were released by the City of Vancouver, which the paper posted here.

The original 48-page attachment provided by the City of Vancouver on December 23rd included a three page covering "info bulletin" which tried to explain away the circumstances of the incident:

"It is important to note that City bylaw inspectors have very prescribed circumstances under which a property can be evacuated and shut down immediately, and at no time did City inspectors find a situation which would have allowed them to do so at the Pandora Street property."

The City of Vancouver through its communications department, within 24 hours of the fire deaths, was circulating the conclusion to the media that "at no time City inspectors [found] a situation which would have allowed them" to shut down the rooming house at 2862 Pandora Street before the fire. It has the appearance of spin doctoring a story where three men died.

Furthermore, in an interview with Skelton, Deputy City Manager Sadhu Johnston said:

Looking back on the file, "there's not a lot we would do differently than what we did with this property."

And Councillor Kerry Jang claimed on CKNW radio (mp3 clip) on Dec. 23rd that:

"[The bylaws] were actually being enforced…when they don't come into compliance, when they repeated fail to listen to staff that we take them to court… This particular property was one of those that was coming to council in the New Year to get that court injunction to shut them down… Action was imminent."

How did they arrive at these conclusions so swiftly, and will questions be raised about this at the coroner's inquest? We know now thanks to a report by CTV's Lisa Rossington that the claims by Jang and Johnston that "action was imminent" were not accurate. Why should the public believe any other claims by the City on this matter?

Skelton's December 23rd story provides details from the released documentation. If the Sun reporter had received the complete documentation with the December 8th note to file would the City's explanation that "nothing would have allowed them" to close the rooming house stood up?

What we know from the previously released documents is that after an August inspection the property owner was given notice to cease occupancy of the building by October 31st (see pages five, six signed by Will Johnson) if several updates to the building were not completed by that date.

The November 5th inspection shows that no permits were taken out for any work by the property owner, and that not all of the required updates – such as installing hardwired smoke alarms – were done. The City had grounds to evict and close the rooming house in November, but that didn't happen. A month after the November recheck Carlene Robbins followed up with her superiors, as the note to file reveals.

Why wasn't action taken after the November 5th inspection, and Robbins' December 8th note?

In light of the utter silence from the Mayor's office, and the apparent involvement by the City Manager in a decision to move the coroner's inquest date until AFTER the 2011 election, it is absolutely urgent that the City of Vancouver finally opens up ALL of its files relating to the Pandora Street property.

If the City failed to release this note to file when it gave the documentation to the Vancouver Sun the day after the fire, what other documentation is being held back from public and media scrutiny?

For example, upon hearing the news that Carlene Robbins was leaving her post after 38 years as a City employee (going on later to sue the City for wrongful dismissal and "humiliation"), another inspection report was released. See the link to the PDF here.

Note that it's a six-page report. However, pages one, two, five and six are blank. If it is innocuous, then why not release all the text on those other pages?

In our very first post on the Pandora Street tragedy we asked several questions that should be put to the City in a public inquiry. Now with this additional information about the December 8th note to file, and the fact it was not released earlier to the media, more questions need to be asked of the boss at Vancouver City Hall, Gregor Robertson.

The Mayor can no longer in good conscience avoid being accountable on this matter.

- post by Mike. Follow @MikeKlassen and @CityCaucus on Twitter.

50 Comments

Like a child hides the truth from Mommy when caught stealing cookies...

Perhaps it is time to tell the truth Mayor Robertson.... the Mothers of the three men that died want the truth, as do we....

Shame on every Vision official...

As Aaron Jasper so eloquently put it at a council meeting late in the fall... "What goes on in the family stays in the family"...little did we know how true those words were.

Would this have happened on Ark's watch? I think not...

Time for the dirty little family secrets to be exposed...

The Pandora fire autopsy and Fire Department reports should be released now. What’s there to hide?

It is not acceptable for Mayor Gregor Robertson to delay the Coroner’s Inquest into the three deaths of Garland McKay, Dwayne Rasmussen and Stephen Yellowquill in the Pandora Street December 22nd fire. The Mayor’s claim that "there's nothing political about this" is patently false and stretches the truth to new limits. The current Vision administration has made this a political issue from the beginning by downplaying it and making misleading and erroneous statements. This latest stall is further evidence that this Vision Council has something to hide.

The public needs answers to these unanswered questions now, not after the civic election:

1) Why did Vision Deputy City Manager Sadhu Johnson and Vision Councillor Kerry Jang make incorrect remarks before Christmas that City inspectors did not find “life safety concerns” in the Pandora flophouse, when at least three life safety deficiencies were present as cited in the City’s August, 2010 inspection report of the house? What was the reason for the enforcement delay? Was there political interference which prevented Property Use Manager Carlene Robbins from performing her duties?

2) Why has the Mayor not offered his sympathies on behalf of the citizens of Vancouver to the injured man and the families of the deceased, when in 2008 in his inaugural address he said: “The Vancouver we hold in our hearts is not a city …where a man named Darrell Mickasko, …burns to death in a sleeping bag, trying to stay warm with his camping stove on a freezing night”?

http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/mayorcouncil/inauguraladdress/inauguralrobertson.htm

3) The fire was caused by a short in faulty electrical extension cords connected to Christmas tree lights. Why did the breaker in the illegally installed electrical panel not work?

4) The fire started in the bedding adjacent to the faulty cords. What kind of materials were in the bedding which allowed the fire to spread so quickly?

5) The artificial Christmas tree was apparently plastic. Did that catch fire and bring the fire up to the illegally installed fiberglass roof, which burned completely, collapsing in on the four men sleeping below? If not, what caused the fiberglass to start to burn? (a high temperature fire is required to ignite fiberglass, but once started, it burns ferociously)

6) Why does the public not yet know why the men did not awaken and get out? What prevented their escape? Was it the fire, toxic gas inhalation, or something else?

This information is available in the Pandora Street autopsy and Fire Department reports. The Mayor must release these reports now, and schedule the Inquest for October 28th out of respect for the deceased, and in the interests of public safety to minimize another tragedy such as this happening again.

@ Bill
add Andrea Reimer to the list of Councillors that spoke publicly... I remember watching and becoming enraged as it was quite apparent from the speaking notes that the implication was that it was entirely the fault of the tenants that the tragedy happened..

Why are most of the MSM asleep at the switch on this story? Don't they know the honeymoon they gave Gregor was officially declared over a few months ago?

The time for some serious digging and investigative journalism is now.

Too bad it was "just" three poor people who died. Had this been three wealthy people from the westside, the media would have been all over this story.

Hello Marissa Thomas?

Charge up the camera batteries. Isn't this where someone is interviewed to see why a wall falls down on Hornby, or why a load of foam gasses the Electra, and they answer on camera something to the effect of, "We'll be investigating". How comforting. Investigating after a fail.

But here, the fail occurs after Carlene Robbins sends a note warning her superiors of a serious problem needing attention. Does the responsibility not then carry on up the ladder? Opportunity lost. Three men lose their lives. The fire may have been started by their own misfortune. So disheartening, and so preventable.

To investigate all the slum houses in this City will mean we have to investigate why there had been NO attempts at getting people out of addictions

sorry Chris (one of many) - can't concur. Fire is not a social problem. It is fire, and it damages property and kills people without discriminating on the basis of their addictions. In a society with limited financial resources, life safety precautions come first, social net later.

I would like to live in a city where working drug addiction prevention policies are in place , but it is not a baseline necessity.

Fire prevention in slum palaces and other forms of housing IS a baseline necessity, and any city must address that through its building, occupancy and fire codes. And no matter how you slice it, the city is showing culpability on this file, and must show why it neglected to address the baseline item when clearly the warnings on file regarding this property were already there.

Sorry Chris (one of many)I have to disagree.

There are people out there trying to help people move towards sobriety, but, you cannot make them.

If you forced any type of treatment on addicts, regardless of whether their decision making capabilities have been completely lost to drugs, you would have the BC Civil Libs and groups like VANDU jumping all over you.

Choice.

chris (one of many)

I hope you are not saying that it was their own fault because they may or may not have had addictions....blame the victim?
That is really low...IMO I really hope I'm misunderstanding your comment!

The Thought of The Day

“One can put Vision into an Asshole, but one cannot get Asshole out of Vision.”

FOR forcing people out of their jobs and then asking them to sign non disclosure confidentially agreements ( which I find it to be highly unethical ...for both sides I may add)one for imposing it, and the other for cowardly accepting it as a ‘Legal’ form of payoff.

FOR imposing a media gag order on a public institution.

FOR transpiring an allegedly MEDIA HIT LIST.

FOR forcing Vancouver taxpayers to accept liability for the biggest White Elephant in its history, the Olympic Village, all while crying wolf when it comes to finding monies for shelters, for children amenities, and / or when faced to school closures.

FOR hiring people with no proper qualifications, with no contest and without posting the openings, offering generous contracts, benefits and allowances, all safeguarded by hidden clauses for severance packages in the case of early dismissal (read mercy firing).

FOR politicizing the local administration to the point where their most senior hires are handpicked from American cities with a long tradition in political corruption and corporate intervention.
FOR making it harder than necessary to use the Freedom of Information services.

FOR a Meeyor calling your average 'mom and pop' addressing the Council, ‘a bunch of fucking NPA hacks’ all while laughing in a Heatherish 'Deal or no Deal' at their 5 minutes ‘democracy cubed’ address.

FOR accepting, and for trying to hide and funnel campaign contributions from suspect foreign ‘charities’ through complicated accounting practices barely on the verge of legality...for now.

FOR lying to the Vancouver community, to the media, and to their own employees on many issues related to public administration, civil servants responsibility, and employment policies.

No honesty left to squeeze out of our local administration. We have a better chance to win the 6/49 Lottery jackpot than to ever have a fair, competent morally astute municipal government in this city.

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

To Glissando Remmy

Start a collection. I'm for putting your posting in it's entirety on a billboard at Broadway and Cambie.

Absolutely!!
excellent post Glissando...

Sorry if my comment was misunderstood.
I believe that the primary reason slum houses exist is that City systems are creaky and inefficient.
I believe that many of the houses exist because the systems are afraid to put people out on the street.That is what could happen if landlords decided not to do the basic repairs and divested themselves of these firetraps. After reaping many.many dollars
Marginalized individuals (especially the mentally ill and addicted, end up renting from slumlords - because face it, the average landlord can not (and should not) accept the behaviours associated with crack addiction etc)
Slum land lords know this and take advantage of it. Cram them in and take their welfare shelter allowance.


I still say, I would like to know how many individuals in flop houses have had any opportunities to get immediate treatment for their health problems.

I'm not talking waiting lists of 8 weeks or more.


I am all for enforcement of City by-laws, after all I spent a couple of years yelling about their non-enforcement in my neighbourhood.

And it wasn't just this Council.

As a postscript to this, my father (who struggled with addiction and eventually died from it when he was 62) set fire to his bed (in the middle of the night) when I was a young adult. Many years ago.

I managed to put it out.
It was just pure luck (miracle?) that I was home and that I woke up for some reason.

B.C.Civil Liberties and Vandu do not speak for me.
I believe that many people would go for help sooner if we didn't have all these groups yelling it's hopeless to try and get people off their addictions. Let's just manage them.

Long post about something I am passionate about.



chris (one of many)

Thanks for clarification. I'm very sorry to hear your Father's story, and the terror as a child you must have faced.

Agree with you about the way the addiction management is handled, it does create a dilemma.

Freedom of choice enters into it.

We have created a system in Vancouver of invisible institutionalization.

Managing an addicted society has created an employment opportunity with union wages.I call it the poverty pimp industry.

I thought that was the purpose of Riverview, sadly that is an expensive piece of property for developers… looking at the chaos on the streets with the psychosis driven mentally ill from lack of treatment services. It is enough to break your heart.

The poverty industry needs to explain to me why millions of dollars are spent weekly for over 20 years, and the problem is nowhere near solved.

Yet more and more union jobs are created to help (manage) the mentally ill drug addicted.

Anyone that has ever spoken up about these issues are targeted by the poverty pimps that have created this nightmare….

I agree with you that our by-law system needs to find a way to toughen up their ability to enforce the laws and hold slumlords accountable, enforcement for property infractions... this is a perfect opportunity for Mayor and Council to shine,set an example instead of hiding, pointing fingers, and giving the appearance of no leadership...

Thanks chris for your post..

George:

You and I are on the same page.

Something else I have not been able to wrap my mind around, how is it that we have 497+ chronic offenders out walking/stalking the streets.

We are talking about people with 50+ charges each that seem to be systematically recirculated.

I thought the 'Community Court' was designed to stop the flow, but from what I read, not even close.

These chronic offenders are responsible for up to $1M in costs/year each, primarily due to thefts. The advocates say theft is a victimless crime. BS. It is personal, and there is a price tag for the victim.

At what point in time does the law start protecting the innocent?

After your third run in, you should be given the choice - mandatory detox for 1 to 2 years (depending on the severity of the addiction) or, jail for 4 or 5.

That alone would be a start.

On a separate note, I understand that there is a kick up at Baldy Hughes Treatment Centre in Prince George -- a board of directors issue which is effecting the patients. They have had great sucess in treatment and I truly hope things get worked. Lorne Maynecourt was spot on with this place and why we, the Province, doesn't open up more like it is beyond me.

Riverview - they do have 3 lodges and 60 beds in operation - long term.

People take a long time to see the obvious. I met Mr. Robertson at a private home on the West Side. Joel was putting together focus groups and trotting (then MLA) Robertson out to go through his talking points. They were straight out of the NDP policy manual, e.g. he argued that there were a lot of empty apartments held by unspecified greedy investors and that was one of the causes of a lack of affordable rental housing (at least half of the people in the room owned revenue property). His solution? Impose a surtax on vacant apartments to free up an unspecified number of units.

He looked really good, but his material was dreadful. He has hired better writers since that evening (I was not the only one who did not write a cheque), but he still struggles unconvinvingly with the role of leader. If ever there was a cynically-packaged marionette, he was it. God forbid he should ever be in charge during a crisis of any kind. The charisma is only skin deep.

And a good thing too. If he had effective speaking skills or another 30 or 40 IQ points he could sell anything. After a long, tedious evening which kept threatening to turn into a group hug (it turned out everyone agreed with everyone else about nearly everything, even a hint of disagreement would have been unthinkable), I came to the conclusion that this guy was a carefully-crafted tool, a marketing campaign looking for the angle that would make him stand out. His investors were an interesting bunch but basically foolish, pampered dreamers. Nice guy, but a Leader? Please.

Bill McCreery: I hope, I say I hope you're taking notes from GR's heart-felt postings. Personally, I'm in for a hundred on the billboard. How much for a week on the jumbotron on the Burrard Bridge?

Did Robertson actaully run Happy Planet or was he just the face of?

I have friends working at various newspapers that have indicated the latter of the two.

I also understand that when he got tagged with the fare evasion and was refusing to budge on it, there was a great deal of pressure coming fro the company's financial people. Long and short as one friend put it ' they were pissed'.

One paper had written that Robertson was an 'ineffective MLA'. I don't think he would have gone far within provincial politics - he doesn't have the wherewithall. Sad, people here couldn't see that under the shiny gift wrap and the big bow - was an empty box.

I'll share a little story Max,

About 5 years ago I met a homeless man with a very serious addiction...

He is the sweetest guy you'll ever meet.
He is hard working if given a job, even if it goes back into his addiction...

Every 'poverty event' he is there volunteering, working away,more than content to be helping, proud of himself.
He has been through the Community Court system...

I can list the poverty agencies that have "USED" him as advertising for funding.... including photo ops for Insite, social enterprises that have worked him to the bone, politicians, managers that have contributed directly to his addictions to further themselves...

But in the end, 5 years later, he is still homeless, addicted, and used... I could go on, but it wouldn't be fair to him, in such a public forum...

I look for him whenever I go around town, just to be sure he is still alive...a nicer man you'll never meet, a really sad commentary, of how useless our current system really is...
it brings me to tears ..

Max,
as to Riverview, dig a little deeper...I know you have the research resources.

Hi George:

I do know about all of the (ongoing)issues surrounding Riverview - good and bad.

(My cousin worked there for many years as a nurse.)

I hope that those wishing to preserve the lands and the buildings win out.

The area and services can be revitalized without densifying it and ruining the natural beauty of the lands.

As for Baldy Hughes, the reason this model works - the centre is located out of town and the patients are not allowed to travel into town.

Having detox beds in the DTES, where you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a drug dealer, will not work. It is just maintanence, nothing more, nothing less. For those that fight to keep addicts in the area, well, they are only contributing to the problem and the early deaths of many.

$1 million a day and counting.

Max,

I agree with you about why Bauldy Hughs works. I must admit until your heads up I really didn't know too much about them, so I googled... what concerns me are the issues they are having right now with governance...

I can't help but be a bit cynical when I read that the board is being invaded by southern (Vancouver)board members...

I fear that failed service providers, will interfere with what seems to be an excellent program...

my apologies to Baldy Hughes for butchering the spelling of the name of their organization......oh my!

George:

This link gives a bit of an interesting history on the drug issues in Vancouver, which started in 1907 and well, has not left.

Did you know back in 1955, there were roughly 2,000 addicts in the DTES?

“The Dope Craze that’s Terrorizing Vancouver”
August 2008

http://pasttensevancouver.wordpress.com/2008/08/03/%E2%80%9Cthe-dope-craze-that%E2%80%99s-terrorizing-vancouver%E2%80%9D/

Glissy, Glissy...

You never fail to amaze me.
Just when I expected another genial joke from you, you've got me hit with the biggest political punch I've read in some time. There was not one single point in your comment that I could possibly disagree with.

“One can put Vision into an Asshole, but one cannot get Asshole out of Vision.”

This should be an NPA ran negative ad on Vision during the next election! Who can go wrong when you are telling the truth, eh?
As for the Billboard (see other posters)that's an excellent idea and also maybe, Mike shall give Glissando a guest spot on City Caucus once in a while, Glissy is writing full opinion pieces in here anyways...

thanks Max, amazing article...

The digital billboard cost somewhere around $3,000 per ad per period of time(I think)

(Astral Media books for them)


Another digital thought, in Las Vegas they have people walking around with strapped on digital boards(backside) that measure the length of their body and finish about a foot above their head. They are very effective and as at eye level, more noticeable.

Not available in Canada as of yet.....but the costs on those units are low.

The first person to research the legality of those personal digital boards or reasonable facsimile...and are interested in pursuing it.....

I would be very interested in offering my back for the first location....I am very serious.....just post and we can connect...

Serious offer...Glissando are you reading this?

Already in the works George.

I looked at this model during my last trip to Vegas. The one concern was if they were weather proof.

I've chatted with 'China' and well, things are in the works.....:)

I'm serious Max...and just the right personality for it!

Glissandro
My man-crush only deepens......
keep up the great posts!

GR,
Ten out of ten, right on!
It's a pity Citycaucus it is not on the approved, Ballem censored, official, self congratulatory list of partisan media/ blogs/ columns.
Not to worry, I'm sure they have someone there at 12th and Cambie reading and beautifying your posts for Vision consumption.However, I wonder if one applies lipstick on a pig does that makes the pig look better?
Keep them comments coming buddy!
And for the rest of the people in Vancouver 'Wake up!'

The key words in Mike's report are "The Mayor can no longer in good conscience avoid being accountable on this matter." Now I was under the impression that the Mayor does not have a conscience when it comes to ethical political matters.

How can the city be tearing down the house prior to the coroner's inquest?

Admittedly, I don't know how this type of thing works, but doesn't the coroner need to inspect it?

I spoke with the VFD in January about whether the house should come down by, was it 14 January. He said they had done their inspections and reports. Presumably, if it does come down before the inquest the Coroner will have looked at it or will rely on the reports of others. One wonders if the latter is sufficient, but I don't know enough.

I have not seen the inside of the house, but from what I've seen outside, the fire damage is mostly at the illegally enclosed deck. Aside from that the damage to the rest of thew house is probably mostly smoke. One must ask why the City is requiring the owner to demolish? Did the order not come from Mr Sandu? Is this demolition necessary? The owner, once the legal aspects are done will probably be forced to sell either way. If the City were to refuse her a license to operate and enforce it this time, she probably would sell anyway. Is the City just ordering the demolition out of vengeance? If so, who ordered this? So far it seems to be Sand. He needs to explain why.

Bill, you are correct.

The original demo date was set for Jan. 14.

It seems that parties in question couldn't get it down fast enough, while they - 1) denied any wrong doing on the City's part - 2) dragged their heels on the request, or demand, for an inquest.

There are still many questions that need to be answered.

As for the property - did the owner get any type of fine? Is she being held responsible in any way? Hopefully the family members of these men are going after her civily.

I would love to see this poperty forfeited and perhaps some sort of social housing built in its place. A bit of a memorial and a reminder to the other slumlords operating in the city. It would be nice to see something good come out of such a tragic event.

Max
brilliant idea about memorial and social housing component...

The ironic part of the news report for me, was that the city made sure that the asbestos was removed prior to demolition....

One wonders if the new social enterprise "embers" supported by the city, did that removal, and who paid for it?

From the City's Pandora St. Property Report Dec. 23 2010:
"Inspections conducted by the City of Vancouver today indicate that the property is not an immediate risk to the safety of neighbours nor to the public, therefore, the City does not have the authority to remove the building immediately, however staff will be requesting City Council authorization to remove the building if the property owner hasn't demolished the building by January14,2011"

Rereading the inspection reports, there was an illegal addition to the building and numerous code violations where repairs were ordered. IIn addition there was a zoning issue regarding illegal use of house. No where in the file do I see anything warranting the tearing down of the entire house - sort of like swatting a bee with a sledgehammer.

In this day and age of conservation consciousness vs. excess, and given the adage 'the greenest building is the one you do not build', what possible justification is there for tearing down an entire house, parts of which are perfectly re-usable?

George:

I would hope, as they do with the crack houses they demo in Surrey, that the owner of the house is charged for the complete demo.

I don't know if you saw the noon report, but Tanya Baya (sp?) spoke to neighbors of the house.

The one woman mentioned the back a few years it had snowed and her car got stuck. One of the residents of this house grabbed a shovel and helped dig her out. She sid they were nice men.

Max
I actually had the pleasure of meeting 2 of the men...and they were delightful..

Global TV just did a story on the Pandora house being demolished. Here is the link. Worth watching:

http://www.globaltvbc.com/video/index.html?releasePID=j5kVePY7BnbF3uHSN7tN834Qovy3eAQQ

Say it like it is Glissando!
If you say it 1000 times, people will start listening and then they will start believing it too. Say it like it is.

Funny how the news is always so one sided...

My cousin owns that property and no one has shown the other side of the story. Yes it is a sad outcome, but the blame should really point to the whole broken system.

She's been wanted to tear down that crummy old house for years, but with recent changes to the law she can't even evict her tenants to do so. From a purely business standpoint - there is no reason she should put money into a place that will simply get trashed by uncaring tenants. Sure she could have fixed everything up to code, but that would require raising the rent to pay for it - which you cant even do anymore due to draconian bylaws. And before you start bashing her for being greedy, she has her own family to feed and her only income is from her rental properties. You try paying off more than mortgage at a time, and tell me that you have tons of spare cash lying around to fix a place that needs to be torn down anyway. My cousin doesnt own a fancy car, she doesn't parade around in name brand clothes, it's untrue to paint her as a rich landlord leaching from the poor.

In her own way, she was trying to give back. She kept the rent low on purpose and even turned a blind eye when the fellow decided to sublet the place and let his buddies say for a small charge to help pay for the rent. Seriously, the original intention was to rent it to a group of only 4 or 5 of the guys. She'd go in and kick the buddies out, but they'd only come back a week later so she let them stay.

Joe was one of the main tentants my aunt actually picked off the street. She got him clean, gave him some contracting work (heck she paid them to fix thier own place!), and a place to stay. Now she's getting called out for giving a guy a roof over his head and job to put food on the table? Gimme a break.

You can rag on my cousin all you want, but the reality of the matter is these guys had no where else to go. Staying in a crappy house is better than staying in an alleyway wet and cold because you dont have anywhere to go. We need to fix this useless sytem of ours and really take a look at how we're approaching source of the problem.

@ John Smith

What a sanctimonious condescending, post. Your cousin lives in a million dollar home, she did nothing by giving these men a roof over their head.
They paid off her mortgage while she bides her time letting the property run to the ground so their was no other alternative but to tear it down...

Leaving your poor cousin the opportunity to rebuild on a nice piece of expensive property...

You have done your cousin no favors here my friend, if anything you have just made it very clear how uncaring and selfish she really is... Shame on you!!

Because of your families attitudes, and by your stated comments, three men are dead!! And even worse, your family obviously take no responsibility for this tragedy..

Shame on you, no wonder you didn't use your real name!!

@John Smith

For the record, every landlord can evict tenants, if they acquire the proper permits from the city, to do extensive renovations, which were obviously desperately needed in this case.

RTA makes that very clear...who are you trying to kid other than yourself.Your cousin needs to take responsibility for her actions...

You've angered many by your despicable comments.

Wow man you really only read what you want to hear don't you?

Not once did I say she wasn't sorry or is going to face the consequences. I dont speak for her, but I simply wanted to share what led to the situation from the other side of the fence. Are good intentions a valid excuse? No. But do I think it's wrong to view the story without seeing all sides of the story? Yes.

My point was to show that the facilities our local government is supposed to provide is failing us - leading to situations where the homeless have to resort to living in a crummy place or die out in the streets. Where are all the low income homes the city was supposed to build? I don't see 'em.

Your initials 'JS' should stand for Just Scam. Same valid for your cousin.

John,

I heard you load and clear. If one owns multiple properties, as you have stated, it is hard to swallow that she did this out of the goodness of her heart.

Why did she repeatedly ignore the work orders from the City. If you can't afford to maintain your property in a reasonable fashion,according to the law, perhaps sell one of the multiple properties you mentioned and do the repairs the city has ordered for many years.

Paying a non licensed person to do repairs was just being cheap, benefiting only your cousin. Making an unsafe premise not only for the tenants but every neighbor on the block.

Again you blame the government, ignoring what I said about the RTA allowing an owner to give notice to do serious repairs. Please don't continue to blame the system for mistakes that your cousin chose to make.

I realize this is very hard on your family, but at the end of the day your cousin can see her family....the same can't be said for the families of these men.

That is why we have laws in our society, so these types of tragedies don't happen.

Perhaps the need to manipulate the system backfired for your cousin, and three men paid with their lives.

A very difficult lesson to be sure, but your cousin can't blame anyone but herself I'm afraid..at the end of the day she made the decisions she did, and unfortunately the price is very high for everyone.

I wish you well, as I can imagine your family is in great pain...but please don't come here and cry about the system failing you, or your ability to make money.

Especially since the families, and friends, of the three deceased men read this website..it is just hurtful, selfish..and on so many levels just wrong..

Had you come here and offer condolences it might be a little different, but you didn't,nor did your cousin... if you are uncomfortable with the response you've gotten, perhaps this was not the correct forum to use to vent ..just my opinion..

I'm with you George

George, I appreciate your reply. It was not my intention to be hurtful by venting as you put it. I now relize that is not the correct forum to post my comments (you'd want to try and stand up for your own family if they were being constantly scrutized wouldnt you?). Fault can only be mine for randomly posting on one of the many aggregate results from Google news.

I appologize if my comments were taken that way. Our hearts do go out to thier friends and families, and I really do mean it.

I think my thoughts may be coming out dis-jointed. I'm not trying to make excuses for any failings, but simply saying that "hey, weren't they supposed to be doing somethign about this?". There was lots of talk and a lot less action from our friends at the city hall regarding the homeless in Vancouver. Maybe if they got off their collective butts before all this happened and there were better programs and decent affordible homes available, a tradegy like this (and future ones) could have been avoided.

An edit function would be really usefull right about now.

Thanks John,

I wish you well..
and I totally know what you mean about that edit button lol...

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