May 2011 Archives

pandora-photo
Vancouver fire fighter keeps a record of Pandora Street - photo: Vancouver Sun

Last December three men died tragically in a flop house fire on Pandora Street in Vancouver. Thanks in part to the tireless efforts of family members; B.C.’s Coroner recently announced they will make this tragedy the subject of a public inquest in October.

If you recall, within 24 hours of the fire Vision Vancouver’s Kerry Jang was in full damage control telling the media the City couldn’t have done anything more to help prevent the deaths. That’s because the media discovered the home had actually been the subject of numerous inspections and should have been shut down.

According to inspector reports living conditions in the flophouse (which has now been demolished by the City of Vancouver) were simply atrocious and even threatening to life safety. Not only was there documented evidence the home was being used as an illegal boarding house, but residents were using multiple extension cords to operate various appliances and household items.

Which is why I placed a Freedom of Information request with the City of Vancouver to provide a copy of all the digital photos taken by City inspectors. This is standard practice by inspectors who need to document evidence in case they have to go to court.

I firmly believe it is in the public interest to see exactly what kind of conditions Garland McKay, Dwayne Rasmussen and Steven Yellowquill were living in before they died. Unfortunately, the response I received from the City is that the images from inside 2862 Pandora Street are off limits to the public. It appears that if city manager Ballem has her way, no one in the public will ever see what inspectors discovered when they walked through that property prior to the fire.


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