Red tape blamed for delay in clean up of burnt out Quamichan Inn

At least one neighbour of the iconic Quamichan Inn, destroyed by fire in May, is concerned about the deteriorating condition of the site.

At least one neighbour of the iconic Quamichan Inn, which was destroyed by fire in May, is concerned about the deteriorating condition of the site.

John Chudyk owns 12 acres of agricultural land down slope of the Quamichan Inn site that is currently dedicated to hay production.

He said ongoing delays in dismantling the burned wreckage that was once the Inn, which was more than 100 years old, could have severe impacts on his property.

Chudyk said that as an older building, he fears the remaining material from the Inn at the site could be full of lead paint, asbestos-filled insulation and other hazardous materials that could be leaching into the area’s groundwater and nearby Quamichan Lake now that the fall rains have begun.

“Uphill from agricultural properties and Quamichan Lake is no place for hazardous materials to be left this way,” Chudyk said.

The property is listed as owned by an ownership group that is incorporated as Quamichan Inn Ltd.

A spokesman for the group, who asked not to be identified, said since the fire, the owners have been busy working their way through the multitude of mandatory requirements of several government and corporate bureaucracies, as well as its insurance agencies, to finally begin demolition and reconstruction at the site.

He said that lengthy process is now finally coming to an end and he expects work to begin “anytime soon.”

Michael Mark, manager of building compliance with the Municipality of North Cowichan, said a demolition permit was issued to Coast Environmental Ltd. on Sept. 8 to begin demolition.

Mark said that with the possibility of so much hazardous material at the site, the company must properly dispose of the materials according to strict regulations laid down by WorkSafeBC to protect workers, and that could take some time to organize.

He said issues around toxic materials leaching into adjacent properties and Quamichan Lake are the responsibility of the Ministry of Environment.

A statement from the ministry indicated that it had received no complaints regarding any pollution coming from the property at this time, and would only become involved if a complaint was received.