Non-profit owner of subsidized apartment seeking info after evacuation

Pathways left in the dark

Pathways Abilities Society remains in the dark after their building, Hadgraft-Wilson Place, was evacuated on Sunday.

Pathways was served an evacuation notice ordering tenants to vacate the building by 6 p.m. Tuesday due to damage caused by excavation work at the nearby UBCO construction site in downtown Kelowna.

Roughly 84 people remain out of the 68-unit apartment building with no clear answer on when or if they will be allowed back home.

Pathways’ executive director Charisse Daley says she, like the tenants, is also waiting for answers.

"We are doing our best to make sure that they have accommodations. I just can't speculate on the time. We have tenants asking us, and I would love to give them an answer. We are just not the experts. We didn't issue the evacuation order. We are doing our best to get that information," Daley said.

On Sunday, in a news release, the city said "a review of third-party geotechnical and structural engineering reports has raised safety concerns about the building." Major cracking is visible inside and outside the building.

The Kelowna Legion Hall on Bertram Street and Okanagan coLab at the corner of St. Paul and Doyle were also previously declared uninhabitable.

Pathways says the building's issues and safety concerns were brought up months prior to the evacuation.

"I'm not a structural engineer. I just know the issues were flagged, and it's a brand-new building. I'm not sure if the building should have had time to settle before construction on that site began. This is not new. We brought this to UBC's attention to try to get resolution before it escalated to this point."

"It's devastating. Some of these folks have been waiting years for a home. They moved in, virtually eight months later, and they are having to move out. It's not just people with diverse abilities. We have a few people with language barriers, we have seniors," Daley said.

UBC Okanagan has suspended construction activities at the downtown Kelowna site until further notice.

Residents, meanwhile, are not expecting to return quickly.

"The chances of being able to come back in a week are not likely," said resident Megan Beckmann on Sunday. "They don't want to say we can come back for sure because they don't know if we will be able to come back."

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