Architect challenges condo evacuation order

An architect who owns a condo in the Valhalla, an Edmonton high-rise that was damaged by fire three weeks ago, believes she is closer to stopping an evacuation order.
Asbestos in the walls forced residents from the Valhalla for four months for clean up. ((CBC))
An architect who owns a condo in the Valhalla, an Edmonton high-rise that was damaged by fire three weeks ago, believes she is closer to stopping an evacuation order.

The Nov. 23 fire burned through a top-floor condo, and 46 others were damaged by water.

Fighting the fire disturbed asbestos in the walls, so the building manager and insurance adjuster ordered the building evacuated for a four-month cleanup.

Architect Vivian Manasc went to court Wednesday to argue that the evacuation is unnecessary.

While the show cause hearing was delayed one week, Manasc was provided with a document explaining why the insurer decided to evacuate the building.

Architect Vivian Manasc tells reporters outside court Wednesday that the evacuation is unnecessary. ((CBC))
"At first glance we have an indication that they've acknowledged that there's more than one way to approach this building and its renovation and so now we have to look at it."

The document from Simco Management indicates renovations could be done in phases, but would be more costly to the insurance company, Manasc said.

Renovating in phases would allow most residents in the 157-suite Valhalla to stay in their homes while much of the work is done.

Residents would be forced out for only two or three weeks at a time as each section of the building is done.

"Based on my 30 years of experience as an architect, renovating schools and hospitals and other public buildings that have asbestos in selected areas, I believe that that work can be done in a phased manner rather than all at once by evacuating the building," Manasc told CBC News prior to the court hearing.