(Photo by City of Victoria)

The City of Victoria has approved a Heritage Alteration Permit to allow building owners to demolish the remainder of the former Plaza Hotel building on Pandora and Government Street.

Over a month after a major fire gutted the heritage building on May 6th, the cause of the blaze remains suspicious and under investigation, and the hotel’s live-in caretaker has been unaccounted for since the incident occurred.

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But work will soon commence on the demolition of the building in order to “alleviating the hazard to the public”, pursuant to a few caveats.

The city requires that certain architectural elements of the historic structure be preserved  and stored with a photographic inventory, under the supervision of a heritage consultant, for the purpose of integrating them into a future proposed development.

These include:

  • two round polished granite columns that flanked the original entry to what was once the Hotel Westholme, and were found encased in a metal surround from a later alteration that protected them from fire and structural damage,
  • a selection of white glazed brick from the upper storeys that survived with minimal damage,
  • a selection of heavy structural timber,
  • any existing cast iron columns in the remnant of the main floor façade,
  • a selection of the square tapered wood columns below ground level at the property line parallel with the sidewalk.

The decision was made after council reviewed a Heritage Alteration Permit application filed by the building developer, Nick Askew of Ocean Gate Developments, on May 29th.

Victoria Police remain tight lipped about their investigation into the cause of the fire that destroyed the building, and have stated that caretaker Mike Draeger is still missing.

BC Coroners Service have confirmed that they have not been called to assist in the investigation.