City continues study of cracks near UBC Okanagan downtown dig

Watching construction site

Madison Reeve

The City of Kelowna says it continues to monitor the offsite construction impacts of the 43-storey UBC Okanagan campus being built on Doyle Avenue.

Damage has resulted in the closure of the Legion Hall on Bertram Street and Okanagan coLab at the corner of St. Paul and Doyle. Some damage has also been discovered at Hadgraft Wilson Place, operated by Pathways, next to the construction site.

Kelowna divisional director of planning and development Ryan Smith says engineers are trying to pinpoint the extent of those impacts "and what type of mitigation measures can happen."

Smith says cameras have started to go down pipes into the streets to track the situation.

"We have many other towers that have been built in Kelowna, certainly its safe to build towers in Kelowna, but with every particular tower project, there are minor offsite impacts from that. That's why there is a peer-review process in place, that's why there's construction insurance."

"We keep an eye on that and get involved as much as we need to, and in a process like this, the city is quite involved."

"Ensuring that taxpayers won't be on the hook for damage to public assets," Smith added.

The city says the new UBC Okanagan site is the deepest hole that has been dug in the downtown area. Designs include a four-storey underground parkade, a first for Kelowna that requires a large excavation.

Crews continue to work on the site but have halted work on the east side of the property, where the Legion Hall, Hadgraft Wilson Place and SD23 building have been impacted.

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