Few answers, lots of frustration in Langford’s RidgeView Place meeting

Few answers, lots of frustration in Langford's RidgeView Place meeting
RidgeView Place residents had a chance to share frustrations and ask questions to Langford council and staff at a May 8, 2023 meeting.

Displaced tenants who attended the City of Langford’s meeting about RidgeView Place on May 8 repeatedly shared a similar sentiment — frustration at the lack of information about what led to the evacuation of the building on April 24.

“There’s people that currently don’t know the structural integrity of the building is unsafe, but they don’t know if it’s cracks in the foundation, they don’t know if the things going to implode on them,” said Tyler Sansom, one of the displaced residents. “What you’re saying is danger, but you haven’t released the reason.”

Frustration over the lack of information was shared by several of the attendees of the meeting, but Langford Mayor Scott Goodmanson said the city has released the information it has.

“The notice we got from [Engineers and Geoscientists BC] said specifically, There is a question to the structural design of the building, and that there was no evidence, a comprehensive review by the engineer on record had ever been completed,” Goodmanson said.

“We don’t have any more information because we just have what they got from the visual inspection and as frustrating as that is the can’t go in there and do what they need to do until everyone is out, and Centurion in charge of all of that.”

Engineers and Geoscientists BC, or EGBC, is the body that governs engineers and geoscientists in B.C.

Goodmanson said there has to be a more thorough investigation of the building to determine exactly what is wrong.

EGBC previously told CHEK News that its investigations are confidential and it would not release information about the investigation into the engineer of the building as a result.

Tara Davies, another displaced resident, said she is frustrated with how the funds raised are being distributed.

“Your guys’s grant program that you were offering is a slap in our face. You are asking for our bank statements. You are asking for our personal information, the only information we should have to apply and give to you is that we lived in that building,” Davies said through tears. “It doesn’t matter how much money we made for how much help we need. It doesn’t change how it affects us.”

Davies also noted that the assistance being rolled out is coming out weeks after the building was first evacuated.

“People have been scrambling, you can help 10 per cent now that haven’t found a home yet, but what about the other 90 had to do it on our own? Who literally go sleepless nights?” Davies asked.

“I personally drive bus and I can’t drive bus right now because I have to deal with literally my entire life being ripped out from underneath me. But I can’t even apply for your grant because I most likely make too much because I’ve worked my butt off to get to where I am. So I don’t deserve help?”

Diana Gibson, executive director of the Community Social Planning Council, which is the group responsible for managing the donated funds, said that financial assistance is being prioritized for the lowest income people in the building, and the leftover funds will be distributed to the rest of the displaced tenants once those with the highest need have been helped first.

“Because the fundraising coming in has been limited, the ability to help every household would be a very small amount, and we are working to prioritize the funds for households in need,” Gibson said. “Funds have been going out to households, and everybody who applied is being engaged with and supported to help access any services we could help them with.”

Two people who spoke said they or a loved one are now facing health issues due to the stress of the situation.

Robert Taylor says his 70-year-old wife has been in the hospital for one week because of the stress of being told to move out of RidgeView, added to the hotel-hopping the couple had been doing until they could find permanent housing.

Jamee Coubrough says she suffers from stress-induced seizures as a result of a car crash in 2019.

“I have been six months seizure free until two weeks ago,” Coubrough said.

Another resident shared how she is a research student currently in Africa, so her sister had to be the one to handle the situation since the earliest flight home she can get is May 15. Another shared that she had to move back in with her parents in Ontario and gave away all her belongings since she had to move quickly and drove across the country with her dogs. Another shared that her 1.5 year old baby had to live in a playpen in an Airbnb while the family tries to find a new place to live.

Each resident shared how their lives had been impacted by needing to move out at a moment’s notice and trying to find housing in an already tight rental market.


Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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