Now We Know Where Our Old Houses Get Tossed

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A heritage expert I know decided to do a little digging and find out what really happens with all that demolished housing material.

He was watching the demolition of one of Main Street’s original houses on the last weekend in November. The house, built in 1911, was well known to locals, who were sorry to see it go. As he watched, he noticed that the city’s recycling and salvaging requirements for pre-1940 houses were not being followed. The house was knocked down and its materials unceremoniously thrown into a big dump truck. My source decided to follow the truck to see what would happen next. He followed it south to Kent Street, not far from the city’s transfer station. He watched as the truck entered a huge building with an even bigger lot filled with debris, about eight stories high. He got out of his car and scurried across the rail way tracks so he could get pictures. I’ve attached some of them here.

He returned to his car and climbed into the driver’s seat when he realized he had been followed by a man who was in an absolute fury. “You’re trespassing! What are you doing, taking pictures? Delete those right now!” the man screamed.

My source quite rightly told him he had every right to take pictures on public property. He got out of there and sent me the pics. And now we know what happens to old houses that get demolished each day in Vancouver — a stomach-turning three to four houses per day.

Interesting aside: the company on the signage was fined $50,000 last year for accepting materials that could have been recycled.

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