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Evacuated apartments residents demand solutions from UBC, City of Kelowna

Hadgraft Wilson Place residents were evacuated on April 2

It’s been three weeks since Hadgraft Wilson Place residents were told they had 48 hours to evacuate from their homes.

The tenants have been placed by building manager Pathways Abilities Society at various hotels in Kelowna since the move-out deadline of April 2, but after weeks of uncertainty, the residents are looking for a permanent solution.

Monique Saebels and her 89-year-old mother were first moved from Hadgraft to the Ramada, however, with rooms booked for upcoming dates the pair were moved again to the Best Western as another temporary home.

“She was very sick when we got here,” Saebels said of her mom. “She fell in the room because she didn’t know where she was or which room she was in.”

The stress and uncertainty have taken a mental and physical toll on everyone from the limited-income building.

Hadgraft residents are finding hope in each other, getting together for meals and meetings when possible.

“It is so much different than when we were at our homes because we saw each other every day and we had different programs we were doing together,” Saebels added. “As much as is going on we are still trying to be a close-knit community.”

Construction of the UBC Okanagan Downtown Kelowna Campus has caused ground shifting since the fall and a small handful of neighbouring buildings started to show cracks in their structures. Hadgraft Wilson Place is the latest of four buildings to be evacuated on an order from the Kelowna Fire Department.

One of the Hadgraft residents have launched a petition on, which looks to garner 20,000 signatures in the hopes of stopping the UBCO’s continued construction.

Saebels alongside Megan Beckmann were excited to hear about the petition as the pair have been encouraging other residents to make their voices heard.

“They should be able to stand up for themselves in a way that’s democratic,” Beckmann stated.

Together, Saebels and Beckmann are calling on the City of Kelowna, UBCO, and UBC Properties Trust to include residents in the conversations about the next steps and find permanent homes for the residents if they can’t move back into the building.

“If these entities are allowed to fail in their obligation to the community by neglecting prevention of further damages they should have at least held hotel bookings for the evacuees despite peak tourist season approaching,” Beckmann said.

The City of Kelowna said it is working with Pathways Abilities Societies on the matter.

The petition was started by tenant Brandon McCluskey.

READ MORE: Construction resumes on UBCO’s downtown Kelowna campus, despite evacuations

READ MORE: ‘Hotel living isn’t fun’: Evacuated Kelowna residents want answers from city, UBCO

Brittany Webster

About the Author: Brittany Webster

A video journalist with Black Press Media. I recently made the exciting move from my radio anchor position at AM 1150 to this new venture.
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