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Fundraiser launched for businesses impacted by Gastown fire

The historic hotel housed several businesses, but many in the area are also affected

With at least a dozen businesses shut down due to the fire at the Winters Hotel, the Gastown Business Improvement Society (GBIS) is fundraising.

The fire destroyed the historic hotel, which will need to be demolished. While the upper floors were used as an SRO, at street level seven businesses had storefronts, like the Flying Pig and Nika Fashion and Design Co.

"Loss of revenue, destroyed valuables and merchandise, and staff relying on an income are only some of the financial burdens that these businesses will face as they navigate through this devastating time," states the GBIS.

To help with that navigation, the society is fundraising to help cover costs.

So far they've raised nearly $8,000 in less than a day. The funds will be held by the GBIS and distributed later.

"All requests will be collected by our office, vetted by a subcommittee of the GBIS Board, and then funds will be distributed to the businesses," states the GBIS.

The list of businesses affected goes beyond those located in the building hit by the fire. Due to its age and the damage, there's a risk it'll collapse before it's purposely demolished. Therefore, residents and workers aren't able to return to the collapse zone around the building.

"It has been heartbreaking to see our neighbourhood endure this extreme devastation and to see these small businesses lose their livelihood and stable ground for the future," says the GBIS.

The group also encourages people to help the businesses affected directly, if possible.

A separate donation drive is being held for those whose homes were destroyed by the fire and are displaced.

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