Above: Two of four Morinville businesses closed due to the hotel fire at the Morinville Plaza Hotel & Suites have now reopened. – Stephen Dafoe Photo
by Stephen Dafoe
While plans for the hotel and banquet hall portion of the Morinville Plaza Hotel & Suites on 100 Avenue are unknown, one of the four businesses affected by the fire opened before Christmas, and another will open on Friday.
Uncle Sam’s Cannabis opened before Christmas, and Morinville Pizza will reopen for business on Friday, January 6, two months after the November 6 fire.
Morinville Pizza owner Pradeep Pillai told Morinville Online he was excited to be opening to serve his customers after the closure.
“I’m very excited about everything and serving the customers again,” Pillai said. “People have been calling and asking, ‘When are you going to operate?’ The green light is on, so Friday morning, we are opening.”
Pillai said it has been tough not being open for the past eight weeks and that part of the delay was in getting reinspected and cleared to reopen.
“We passed that and everything, the health department inspection,” he said. “That one was taking time because of Christmas and New Year and everything that was going on.”
But with the fire-related work done and everything cleared in the inspection, Pillai and his staff are looking forward to once again serving their clientele.
“We’re excited. They [our customers] like our pizzas because everything is made with fresh dough,” Pillai said, adding that it takes two days to prepare for Friday’s reopening.
Asian Garden To Open Later
Two of the four main street businesses are still closed.
Cell Tech, which sells and repairs phones and computers, has yet to reopen.
“We are not open yet, and even we have not decided the opening date yet because the way to [the] mechanical room of the building goes through our store,” the company said in a message. “Building authorities need access to the mechanical room every other day. Thus we are not able to open yet.”
Asian Gardens, a popular Chinese restaurant, is scheduled to open this spring, as considerable work is needed to restore the location from smoke and water damage.
Jayson Wood, Executive Business Manager for Complete Care Restoration Services Ltd. is in charge of the restoration project. Wood told Morinville Online that part of the delay in reopening is, first and foremost, securing the property after the fire, followed by the need for insurance companies to do their work. In this case, not only the building itself but each of the tenants.
“You need to have five fire investigators come out, so obviously, there is a full week written off,” he explained. “There are significant processes that need to take place before an actual rebuild can take place.”
Wood said getting the building back operational has included some needed updates, including new gas lines and some electrical work due to both the age of the building and the fire.
“Most people don’t understand that fire makes up probably five per cent of any damage. A significant portion is going to be water,” Wood said.
Fire Investigator Dan Blackburn said the Nov. 6 fire is still under investigation. “What I can tell you is that the Plaza fire is still under investigation. It is not considered to be suspicious or criminal in nature. The fire cause is not yet determined.”
Publisher’s Note: This story has been updated to include additional details from Cell Tech on their opening timeline and the Morinville Fire Department on the fire investigation.