UPDATED: Replace, increase size of burned Birch building, says mayor

After a fatal fire, the society is considering whether to repair or to rebuild from scratch.

The fate of Langley City’s fire-damaged Birch building could be renovation, or replacement.

The Langley Lions Senior Citizens Housing Society is considering whether to restore the building, damaged by a fatal fire on April 12, or to tear it down and build from scratch, said society executive director Jeanette Dagenais.

“The long term plan is still in the early stages,” said Dagenais, who emphasized no decision has yet been made.

The society is now analyzing the options.

“Our buildings are aging,” she noted.

The current structure goes back to the 1970s.

“If I had my druthers, I’d like to see it torn down, and instead of three storeys, they could possibly make it six storeys,” said City Mayor Ted Schaffer.

That could double the units, and upgrade the building’s facilities, including sprinkler system and disability access, Schaffer said.

He said the City would be on board in supporting the society getting moving, and was hoping reconstruction would move faster.

“I think it’s a shame, especially when low income housing is at a premium,” said Schaffer.

The fire in April, which took the life of one tenant, was the second fatal fire in recent years at one of the Lions Society buildings, which serve mainly elderly, disabled, and low income renters.

Consultants are working with the society, and they have also been in brief discussions with the City of Langley, Dagenais said. She could not say exactly when a decision will be made.

If the Birch is replaced and rebuilt from scratch, it would be built to modern standards, which include full fire sprinklers.

The Advance reported in November that the Birch building, part of a large complex of buildings, was still largely empty eight months after the fire. Only 10 units are occupied.

The fire and the firefighting efforts caused significant water damage, and asbestos in the building was disturbed by the fire.

Read more: Langley City apartments sit empty months after fire

READ: One feared dead in Langley City seniors apartment fire

Just Posted

Team BC defeats its hosts at junior curling nationals Sunday

Tyler Tardi and his team have played and won three games in the Canadian championships, so far.

Cooler temperatures tonight force opening of emergency beds in Langley

Gateway of Hope is once again offering Langley’s homeless shelter from ‘dropping temperatures.’

VIDEO: Fort Langley was celebrating cultural diversity before it was ‘populaire’

Sunshine and mild temperatures helped draw hundreds to the historic site’s French Canadian festival.

Last year’s Langley volunteer extraordinaire pushes others to ‘give it a try’

Volunteering is incredibly gratifying and fun, says Sylvia Anderson in her call for 2019 nominees.

VIDEO: Koch’s OT winner sends Giants to sixth straight victory

Three games, three cities, three victories for the Langley-based hockey G-Men.

REPLAY: B.C’s best videos this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Crash closes Coquihalla southbound lane south of Merritt

Accident occurred approximately 26 kilometres south of Merritt

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

Most Read