Canada News

Unstable nearby construction site forces evacuation of apartment in Kelowna, B.C.

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More than 80 residents of a low-income apartment building in Kelowna, B.C., have been told they need to leave over a “significant” risk to life and safety.


A statement from BC Housing says the 84 people who live in Hadgraft Wilson Place will have to move out by Tuesday due to concerns over construction activity at a nearby University of British Columbia-Okanagan site.


BC Housing says recent geotechnical and structural engineering reports show a shoring wall is unstable at the construction site, and a slip “could cause serious structural damage” to the apartment building.


Kelowna Fire Chief Dwight Seymour says in a statement the level of risk is “significant enough to begin the evacuation process to ensure the life and safety of occupants and first responders.”


BC Housing says new information about the risks of the shoring wall emerged after earlier reports showed construction activity at the UBC-Okanagan site caused cracks in the walls and windows of the nearby apartment building.


Pathways Abilities Society, which operates the building, is offering accommodation for tenants who need to temporarily relocate to a hotel.


“This is an incredibly stressful time for everyone involved, particularly for the tenants at Hadgraft Wilson Place who just moved into their new homes a few months ago, many after waiting years for a secure home they could afford,” BC Housing says in its statement.


The statement also says it is unclear when tenants will be able to return, and engineers will conduct a comprehensive review of the building as soon as all tenants have evacuated.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2024.

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