Residents of condemned subsidized apartment in Kelowna moved to Okanagan College until mid-August

Residents moved to college

Evacuated residents of Hadgraft Wilson Place will be temporarily moving into the new residence building at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus.

The move will take place “imminently” and Pathways Abilities Society is in the process of finalizing a lease with the college that will run until mid-August, it was announced Friday.

“Our residents have become a tight-knit community in the past year and this opportunity allows them to maintain the support of their friends and neighbours,” said Charisse Daley, executive director of Pathways Ability Society.

“Providing some stability about their next few months and having the amenities of homes will hopefully make things easier while they wait for the remediation of our building and next steps.”

Eighty-four residents of Hadgraft Wilson Place, which opened in June 2023 to cater to those with disabilities, were issued an evacuation notice on March 31 due to damage caused by the adjacent UBC Okanagan excavation.

Since then, residents have been put up in hotels, something some of the residents have struggled a great deal with.

“The first hotel we stayed at, we asked for an accessible room,” said resident Paul Thomas, who uses a wheelchair. “What we got was so tight, I couldn’t get to the bathroom.”

Another resident Jim Hadgraft, 55, died Monday after falling and breaking his tibia in a hotel. The building bears his name due to his family’s efforts to bring the building to life.

All residents will have the opportunity to move into the upper three floors of the newly-built Okanagan College student housing building. There is a mix of individual rooms and common spaces, as well as some suites which will be matched to the residents based on their unique needs.

“This has truly been a collaborative community effort to find a solution for the displaced residents at Hadgraft Wilson Place,” said Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas.

“City staff have been working diligently alongside Pathways, BC Housing and local developers to find options and alternatives for the residents, who have experienced so much during this trying time. We want to ensure this process continues to be handled with sensitivity, safety, and compassion.”

Based on the most recent geotechnical report it is expected to be several months before Hadgraft Wilson Place is ready for residents to return to the building. Pathways is working to find longer term housing for residents after mid-August when the school year starts.

BC Housing financed the construction of the building, which is now owned and managed by Pathways.

The university’s latest statement on the incident on April 18 says construction work on the UBC Okanagan campus is proceeding with pile installation.

“Piling is a common foundation construction technique that inserts long, slender columns into the ground to help support the load of a building. Work will include modifying the ramp into the site and replacing the top layer of existing soil with gravel,” said the university in a statement.

“Hourly monitoring of soil movement will continue and all data indicate that conditions remain stable. Engineering teams for the project have advised this work is not expected to impact surrounding properties, including Hadgraft Wilson Place.”

The 43-storey UBC Okanagan tower planned for 550 Doyle Avenue includes a four-storey underground parkade, a first for Kelowna that requires a large excavation. That big dig has created significant problems for neighbouring buildings. The Kelowna Legion Hall on Bertram Street and Okanagan coLab at the corner of St. Paul and Doyle were also previously declared uninhabitable.

The university says it apologized to residents of the building when the evacuation notice was issued to them.

**a previous version of this story stated the university had not apologized for the damage caused to Hadgraft Wilson Place, when in fact, the university says it did issue an apology to residents when the evacuation notice was issued.

More Kelowna News