Pathways officials 'beyond frustrated' after tenants forced to evacuate

Frustrated by evacuation

"Beyond frustrated!"

That's how Pathway's executive director Charisse Daley described a decision to evacuate the 68-unit Hadgraft-Wilson Place due to damage caused by excavation work at the nearby UBCO construction site in downtown Kelowna.

Residents of the building were informed Sunday they would have to leave the Bertram Street apartment building that opened less than a year ago, by 6 p.m. Tuesday.

"The tenants are absolutely devastated as are we. We're beyond frustrated," said Daley while speaking from the property Monday morning.

"This simply shouldn't be happening and was preventable. We have been notifying UBC Trust for months of the issues, looking for solutions to the initial damage and wanting to ensure the long-term stability of the building.

"Their message has been they are not confident the construction is causing the building damage."

Many residents of the building have been waiting for years to find a place to call home, says Daley.

"Eight months later, being evacuated is just unimaginable.

"We're playing triage to address the immediate short-term problem while working on the longer-term solutions."

Pathways is offering to secure accommodations for all that want to temporarily relocate to a hotel.

In its news release Pathways did acknowledge its gratitude to both BC Housing and the Kelowna Fire Department for their support.

Anyone with self contained units available to rent in the short term are asked to email [email protected].

According to recent reports, the adjacent shoring wall that is part of UBC Okanagan’s construction site is unstable.

“If this wall were to slip it could cause serious structural damage to Hadgraft Wilson Place. This new information about the risks of the wall come after earlier reports that showed UBC Okanagan’s construction activity had caused cracks in the walls and windows of Hadgraft-Wilson Place,” BC Housing said in a separate statement.

Construction at the UBCO site has been suspended until further notice while engineers monitor and assess the building and soil movement according to the city.

"We know that this is a concerning development for Pathways Abilities Society and its tenants," said UBCO in a statement online. "Our first priority is their safety and wellbeing. We are grateful for their patience and resilience in these challenging circumstances."

"Given the complex nature of this project, UBC and UBC Properties Trust will take time to study the most recent engineering reports and consult with the city to establish the appropriate next steps. We will share that information as it becomes available."

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