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Hurry up and wait at fire site

The debris left behind by the fire in Downtown New Westminster on Oct. 10. It has since been cleaned up. The building on the right has been condemned and new hoarding has been put up in anticipation of it coming down. - NewsLeader file
The debris left behind by the fire in Downtown New Westminster on Oct. 10. It has since been cleaned up. The building on the right has been condemned and new hoarding has been put up in anticipation of it coming down.
— image credit: NewsLeader file

New hoarding surrounds the site of the devastating fire that wiped out three Downtown New Westminster office buildings last October.

But that doesn't mean new buildings are on the way.

Not anytime soon, anyway.

The previous boards were put up by the city and had a note encouraging passersby to put their Made In New West memories on the wall. They are now in storage with the city's museum and archives, said city communications manager Blair Fryer. The new boards have been put up by the owners of the buildings, he added, so one condemned building still standing can be demolished. Fryer said that was scheduled to begin late last week.

With multiple building owners and insurance companies involved with the site, the process has been slow. No cause of the fire has been officially been determined.

The owners want to see what kind of settlement they get before deciding the future of the site, said Bill Lewis, co-owner of what was the E.L. Lewis building that housed the iconic Copp's Shoes store.

"We're still waiting. Hurry up and wait," said Lewis. "There's a lot of talk going on, no action."

The city also awaits.

"We're ready to talk to them whenever they want for the future vision for the site," said Fryer, who is also the city's economic development manager. "We're not dictating [what they should do]. We're absolutely happy and available to discuss with the property owners the future of that site and how those things fit with Columbia."

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