Community steps up for quadriplegic man trapped in condo as strata has change of heart


Community members have stepped up to help find a temporary home for a quadriplegic Langford man trapped in his condo for weeks due to a broken elevator.

Nealy, who uses an electric mobility device, has been trapped in his condo since Dec. 23 when water damage caused the building’s elevator to stop working.

“I tried to advocate for myself and I hit a brick wall,” said Nealy, who called CHEK News as a last resort.

Since the elevator broke, Waterstone Condo’s strata council, the strata’s management company Brown Bros., their insurer and Nealy’s personal insurer have been fighting over who is on the hook for finding him a new home.

“I’ve been treated, in my opinion, as a pawn in a game of who’s responsible,” said Nealy.

In the meantime, Nealy had been a prisoner in his own home for more than three weeks.

“They picked the fight with someone who knows how to advocate for themselves,” he said.

But since CHEK News aired a report on his ordeal on Tuesday, Nealy says he’s been overwhelmed with people offering their help. Then on Wednesday, his strata council had a change of heart.

“Phil is a valued member of our community,” said Robert Sauder, Waterstone Condo’s strata president. “During this entire event strata council has been taking the advice of our insurance counsellor. We then sought advice from our lawyer and as a result of that advice we are taking action to accommodate Phillip Nealy’s needs immediately.”

The action they’re taking? To put Nealy up at a location that suits his needs while the elevator issue gets resolved.

“It felt like there was a monkey off my back,” said Nealy, reacting to the news.

But then, another glimmer of hope.

“When I read the story, that really resonated with me and I thought ‘Well, we’re in a position to help, why not?'” said Ashley Priest, director of operations at Parkside Spa & Hotel.

Priest says Parkside Hotel says it’s willing to house Phil as long as he needs.

“He could come here at no cost. The big thing was getting him out of there,” said Priest.

The hotel is even opening its doors to Zoe, Nealy’s beloved cat.

“We love pets so I said that’s OK, we don’t expect to leave your cat behind,” said Priest.

It’s a welcome turn of events for a man who, 48 hours ago, was out of options.

“That one really grabbed me by the heart and I thought, wow,” said Nealy.

He says he’s still deciding what to do and where he’ll go. One thing he does know is his legal rights.

“I’ve been offered free legal advice through a disability lawyer,” said Nealy, who is possibly pursuing legal action, so that no one can be trapped in their own home without recourse.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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