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'Devastating': Evacuation of building next to UBCO construction site extended two weeks

Hadgraft Wilson Place is visible in the background behind the UBCO excavation site.
Hadgraft Wilson Place is visible in the background behind the UBCO excavation site.

Residents of the building next to the UBC Okanagan construction site for a highrise will be out of their homes for at least another two weeks due to safety concerns.

UBCO excavated a four-storey hole for a parking garage for its new downtown tower. Hadgraft Wilson Place is a subsidized apartment building owned by Pathways Abilities Society next to the UBCO construction site.

The building has 68 units geared for those with limited income or disabilities, and it was built just last year.

Residents of Hadgraft Wilson Place found out on March 31 they had to be out of their homes by 6 p.m. April 2. Tenants were initially told the evacuation would be for a few days.

“We have received notification that the building evacuation is going to be extended another two weeks,” Pathways executive director Charisse Daley said in a media release issued today, April 5.

Residents have been put in local hotels and given an allowance for food.

“This latest news is even more devastating for our residents. We are continuing to support the displaced tenants to ensure they have accommodations and meals vouchers, but this extended evacuation order puts an additional strain on everyone. The fact that this was avoidable makes these even more frustrating for us,” Daley said.

READ MORE: Residents scramble for places to live as downtown Kelowna building deemed unsafe

“Many of our residents are individuals with diverse needs, who require very specific support. Now their lives have been turned upside down and they are navigating the stress of not knowing how long it will be before they get to return to their homes. Some of our residents have waited years for these homes and now, eight months after moving in, they’re being kicked out. It’s heartbreaking,” Daley said.

Pathways is asking the public if anyone has a short-term rental unit available to help tenants. People can email availability to

As tenants received news of the evacuation extension UBC Okanagan sent a message to ease potential budget concerns.

The university’s deputy vice-chancellor Lesley Cormack informed faculty and staff the school’s budget will not be affected by the pause in construction.

“I know many are concerned that this is going to directly impact UBCO’s budgets. The UBCO Downtown property is owned and is being developed by UBC Properties Trust, a separate legal entity from UBC. UBCO will become a tenant within the development once it has been completed and is not responsible for construction costs,” Cormack said in the message.

The City of Kelowna, UBC, UBC Properties Trust, the owner and operator of the building Pathways Abilities Society, and BC Housing are conducting a review of the site and the building to decide the best way forward.

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