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Owner of Cook Street apartment building deemed fire hazard gets extension for upgrades

After council last week issued an order that the owner fix up his property before the city stepped in to do it for him, he appealed, saying the work was underway.
An apartment at 2122 Cook St. has been deemed a fire hazard. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

The owner of a small Cook Street apartment building has been granted an extension to bring his property up to fire code.

Richard Good, who owns the building at 2122 Cook St., which Victoria council last week declared a hazard, now has until noon on May 25 to install, test and verify fire alarms and until noon on June 26 to finish construction of the building’s west exterior stairs.

After council last week issued a remedial action order demanding Good fix up his property before the city stepped in to do it for him, Good appealed, saying the work was underway. In a letter to council, Good said he was puzzled by the order as he had already replaced the fire panel and insisted the rot in the back fire escape had been removed and the stairway was safe.

Victoria Fire Chief Dan Atkinson recommended the extension as he had seen some work done.

“Since [May 4], the property owner has demonstrated progress in an effort to comply with the previous orders he was issued and the immediate life safety concerns that were identified on the property,” Atkinson said. “In consideration of this, we’re recommending that council amend the remedial action order to reflect the updated timelines.”

Good had previously been given until noon on May 12 to get the work done.

In a report to council, the fire department noted allowing Good an extension seemed the right move.

“In the interest of keeping the momentum of compliance with the order, and after conferring with permits and inspections, I would recommend that the timelines be extended to allow for the permit application and finalization,” the department wrote.

It also noted that if the city were to step in and finish the work in compliance with all regulations and codes, it would likely take just as long to complete.

Last week, a report prepared by Victoria assistant fire chief Megan Sabell said the building posed a “significant risk to public safety” in the event of a fire.

Sabell said the building has been in a regular state of disrepair and fire safety protection systems have not been maintained.

“Mr. Good fails to not only perform the maintenance, but resists orders of inspectors when given, to the point that our staff have enlisted outside agencies to attempt to motivate Mr. Good to perform his required maintenance to ensure the minimum fire and life safety conditions as prescribed by the B.C. fire code and fire prevention and regulation bylaw,” she said.

The property has been the subject of enforcement action related to multiple provisions of the city’s fire prevention and regulation bylaw and B.C. fire code since 1994.

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