UBC Properties, City of Kelowna sued over effects of tower construction

A recently filed lawsuit is taking aim at just about everyone involved with the construction and design of UBC Okanagan’s downtown tower.

A notice of civil claim filed on behalf of Monique Saebels and Megan Beckmann, residents of the recently evacuated Hadgraft Wilson Place, as well as Eight Spaces Group Inc., otherwise known as CoLab, argues that everyone from the architects involved with designing the tower to City of Kelowna employees was negligent throughout the development and construction process and failed to warn those closest to the construction project of risks they faced.

Saebels, Beckmann and all others connected to the building claim they suffered personal injury including depression and anxiety, stress, significant mental anguish and high blood pressure.

They also incurred a multitude of costs, according to the claim, and they’re looking for financial compensation to cover, among other things, costs related to lost revenue streams, relocation, shelter and storage, and damages to property.

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“The conduct of the defendants, or each of them, has unreasonably interfered and continues to unreasonably interfere with the plaintiffs’ and Class members’ use and enjoyment of property they resided in or property from which they carried on business and are liable in nuisance at law, and the plaintiffs and Class members are entitled to damages,” the suit reads.

Saebels, Beckman and the rest also claim that the defendants should have known that the UBCO Development design and construction methods on the Doyle Avenue property would give rise to the damage that’s happened and, in turn, the cracked foundations and dangerous conditions in nearby buildings.

With that knowledge in mind, they should have warned the residents, the suit claims.

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None of the parties involved have responded to the suit, filed last week.

Click to play video: 'Evacuees move into temporary housing'

Evacuees move into temporary housing

The 84 residents of Hadgraft Wilson Place have been out of their homes, which catered to people with varying mental and physical challenges, since the beginning of April. They’ve been in multiple hotels and last week they found a slightly more long-term solution to losing their homes.

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They relocated to the new Okanagan College residence building until Aug. 15, at which point they will move, though nobody is sure where that will be just yet.

Cracks in the building that have made it unsafe are believed to have been caused by the construction of a massive UBC Okanagan tower next door.

UBC Properties Trust resumed work at UBCO Downtown lastmonth and are looking to further assess the damage.

Click to play video: 'University vows to help displaced residents'

University vows to help displaced residents

“We have extended an offer and a request through BC Housing to be granted access to Hadgraft Wilson Place as quickly as possible to assess possible repairs,” UBCO spokesperson Nathan Skolski said in an email last month.

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Click to play video: 'UBCO tower construction triggers evacuation'

UBCO tower construction triggers evacuation

“As this property does not belong to UBC Properties Trust, we are awaiting decisions by BC Housing and their insurance providers to provide any engineering reports or advice that highlight the extent and nature of any needed remediation. Given that these engineering assessments were commissioned by BC Housing and their insurers, we do not have access to them at this time and cannot speak to their findings, if any.”

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