Ming Sun building wins reprieve from city

Historic Vancouver structure must be upgraded by August

The Ming Sun building continues to dodge the wrecking ball — the City of Vancouver has declared that the building is unlikely to collapse anytime soon.

City staff and a team of engineers assessed the building at 437-441 Powell St. on Dec. 20. An order posted on the building and issued to the Ming Sun Benevolent Society on Dec. 24 from the City of Vancouver states, “Our consultant structural review indicates that it is unlikely that the building will suffer an imminent collapse.”

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The order, signed by deputy chief building official C.K. Edwards, also provides a number of steps that the society has to undertake over the next several months.

David Wong, spokesperson for the Ming Sun Benevolent Society, sounded relieved over the phone.

“It’s lots of good news. This is what we wanted. That gives us some breathing space so that we can secure and repair the building.”

Wong said there is a lot of work that still needs to be done to restore the building.

The society has been ordered to add plywood sheathing to the east wall of the building for structural stability. The society has until Jan. 31, 2014 to complete the work, or the city will conduct the repairs and charge the society.

Once the wall has been done, the order stated that people trained in safety will be allowed to enter the building to clean up and remove hazards.

The order also states that the society has to conduct a permanent structural upgrade on the building by Aug. 5, 2014.

Wong said the society is discussing restoration plans as well as fundraisers, and said the society will be providing more information in the coming weeks.

The Ming Sun building is one of the 20 oldest buildings in Vancouver, and was once owned by a prominent Japanese-Canadian family. 

In November the city had ordered the demolition of the building based on public safety concerns, but the Ming Sun Benevolent Society since asked for it to be preserved because of its heritage value.

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