Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Vancouver SRO residents face the cold without the heat

Residents of Vancouver’s single-room occupancy hotel say they are finally warming up after their building lost electricity, heat and hot water on Christmas Eve – without a full restoration of utilities as of Monday evening.

At a time when electricity and heat were out at the Regal Hotel on Granville Street, Vancouver experienced its coldest temperatures in more than 50 years, as the mercury dropped to -15.3 degrees Celsius on Monday morning.

Resident David Brabner said, “It’s like being outside. The last two nights I’ve slept with my jacket under two sleeping bags and I was still cold.”

Residents of the building accused the landlord of being slow to act and fix the problem when Vancouver employees were notified of unheated heat on the third day.

The hotel is owned by the Sahota family, who have owned and operated several other SROs in Vancouver, including the Balmoral and Regent Hotels, which were denounced by the city.

The council voted to take over those buildings and compensate the Sahotes for only $1, but the city eventually reached an undisclosed settlement with the family.

A city report from July this year details a number of concerns at Regal, including structural damage and a lack of proper fire exits. It says the building is “considered to be in unsafe condition.”

CTV News could not reach Sahota for comment.

The city says it only became aware of the heat issue at Regal on Monday and immediately followed up with the building manager.

It says it has also reached out to all the other SROs in Vancouver to share weather safety tips during this extended cold snap.

Nation World News Desk
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