UBC Properties Trust sued over effects of Kelowna tower construction

In May, a class action lawsuit was filed against UBC Property Investments, the City of Kelowna and other defendants due to alleged negligence during UBCO’s Kelowna Tower's construction.

On March 31, residents of ​​Hadgraft Wilson Place, an affordable housing unit run by Pathways Ability Society, were ordered to evacuate until April 2 because of safety concerns regarding Kelowna tower's construction.

This evacuation was eventually extended for an additional two weeks.

Plaintiffs Monique Saebels and Megan Beckmann, who are both Hadgraft Wilson Place residents, and Eight Spaces Group Inc. allege the defendants were negligent during the Kelowna Tower development and construction process.

The plaintiffs also allege they experienced depression, anxiety, stress, high blood pressure and “significant mental anguish” due to the defendants' alleged negligence. They are seeking financial compensation to cover revenue losses, relocation and storage expenses and other costs as a result of the alleged negligence of the defendants.

In a statement to The Ubyssey, plaintiffs legal counsel Polina Furtula said her plaintiffs are seeking the “government’s assistance in securing housing” for the evacuated tenants as the evacuated tenants are “suffering significant hardship and will be homeless or unhoused, if no housing solution is secured by August 15.”

She also wrote that one resident has been hospitalized “due to the stress of this situation,” and another person has passed away.

UBC Properties Trust to offer financial support

According to a July 3 statement from UBCO, UBC Properties Trust, which UBC Property Investments is part of, is offering assistance to Hadgraft Wilson Place residents.

Each household of displaced tenants is eligible to receive $12,000 of financial support.

“The financial package is an interim measure to offer much-needed help to affected residents but does not prevent them from advancing claims in the future,” read the statement.

“Our priority has always been getting displaced residents back into their homes quickly, safely and prudently,” wrote UBCO Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Lesley Cormack. “This new financial assistance is a welcome development, but there is still much work to be done and that is where our focus will continue to be.”

UBCO also said UBC Properties Trust will carry out “early mitigation efforts” at Hadgraft like shoring the building’s parkade.

In a July 3 statement to The Ubyssey, plaintiffs legal representation Westpoint Law Group, FH&P Lawyers and Napoli Shkolnik Canada said the UBC Properties Trust offers do not “assist those with mobility issues that cannot find accessible housing."

“We will continue to put pressure on UBC to ensure … all displaced residents of Hadgraft Wilson Place are able to obtain safe, affordable, and accessible long-term housing.”

UBC Okanagan and UBC Properties Trust did not respond to The Ubyssey’s request for comment by press time.