More than 1,400 tonnes of solid waste were taken to the Hartland Landfill following the fire at downtown Victoria’s Plaza Hotel building at 603 Pandora Ave. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

CRD says Victoria needs to plan for earthquakes after calculating waste from Plaza Hotel fire

1,400 tonnes of debris from the arson had to be specially disposed of due to asbestos

The Capital Regional District is sending a warning to the City of Victoria after calculating the amount of space it took to clean up the debris from the Plaza Hotel fire, saying that an emergency plan needs to be put in place for large-scale disasters such as an earthquake.

On May 6, 2019 the empty four-storey building at 603 Pandora Ave. was consumed by a fire which investigators later determined to be arson.

READ MORE: Victoria Police confirm downtown Plaza Hotel fire was arson

In a report coming to the CRD’s Environmental Services Committee meeting this week, the district breaks down the aftermath of this fire.

A total of 186 truckloads of waste, or approximately 1,400 tonnes was brought to the landfill from the fire.

Cleaning up an entire building and bringing it to the landfill isn’t common, said Larisa Hutcheson, general manager of Parks and Environmental Services at CRD, and the process was made even more complicated because the Plaza Hotel was known to be filled with asbestos.

“Items that could contain asbestos need to be buried in large, plastic-enclosed bags to ensure harm doesn’t come to employees,” Hutcheson said, adding that contaminated materials are designated to a special part of the landfill. “The debris from the Plaza Hotel took up 40 per cent of the controlled waste space we use in a year.”

If all of that waste can come from one 16,000 sq. ft. building, the report explains, the City could face an unparalleled amount of waste in a larger-scale disaster.

“The municipality with the biggest potential for significant disaster debris in a seismic event is the City of Victoria due to the large number of non-reinforced masonry buildings in the downtown core,” the report reads.

ALSO READ: Be Prepared – Black Press Media’s Greater Victoria emergency preparedness series

Comparatively, the 2011, 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, resulted in hundreds of buildings collapsing or requiring demolition, resulting in between 1.5 and 4 million tonnes of solid debris.

“Municipalities have the direct responsibility for disaster debris management,” Hutcheson said. “Right now there aren’t a lot of finalized plans we can dig our teeth into.”

Presently the City of Victoria is working on developing a disaster debris management plan, but the CRD is also encouraging local municipalities to look at region-wide efforts, as has been done with Metro Vancouver through the Integrated Partnership for Regional Emergency Management (IRPEM). Presently the Capital Region has an agreement with Emergency Management BC through the Regional Emergency Management Partnership (REMP) but this contains no specific plans for debris management.

Having a plan in place, Hutcheson said, would help the CRD continue with its goal of keeping the landfill’s lifespan to 2100. With a significant enough disaster, however, this lifespan could be greatly reduced.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

City of VictoriaCRDEarthquakewaste disposal

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Greater Victoria liquor stores see spike in sales amidst COVID-19

Customers are buying go-to products in larger quantities

Spring shift in service includes no weekend late night bus services in Greater Victoria

Annual shift into spring sees additional decrease in frequency on multiple routes

UVic Vikes new basketball coach on the fast track

At 26, Shalie Dheensaw assumed head coaching role

Excess activity damaging Saanich golf course – despite being closed

Cedar Hill Golf Course manager reminds people of the 170 parks available in Saanich

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Nanaimo man arrested after allegedly setting house fire

Firefighters arrived to find mobile home ablaze on Barnes Road in Cedar on Thursday

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Most Read