For the second time in under four years, residents of a Langford high-rise packed up their belongings on short notice after being told they should leave the building “immediately” for structural safety concerns.
The residents of RidgeView Place, formerly known as Danbrook One, were notified Monday that “due to ongoing life safety concerns” over the building’s design and performance, they should leave immediately.
A day later, many of those residents were busy packing up to get out of the building and into temporary accommodations that they had to source themselves — but were frustrated that no one from owner Centurion Property Associates was on hand to answer questions.
“I just got an email that we need to vacate the premises and I guess I gotta go pack some stuff,” Jamie Cooper said. “I’m pretty pissed off, I’m not going to lie. We deserve better. If we pay our rent on time every month we deserve to live there.”
Dennis MacDonald lives in the building with his daughter and her seven-year-old son, and says this is causing the family quite a bit of stress.
“She’s on her way back here, she’s beside herself, and she has a seven year old who’s autistic,” MacDonald said. “This kind of disruption for a child who’s autistic is really, really serious. I mean a change of pattern, a change of routine is not something that an autistic kid wants to see.”
MacDonald said the letter sent by Centurion had a list of hotels that people were expected to contact to see if there was availability, and were told their tenant’s insurance should help cover expenses.
“I don’t believe my homeowner’s insurance is responsible for it, I didn’t do anything. Your corporate insurance has to cover it,” MacDonald said. “This is so immoral to do this to people. It’s just absolutely shocking.”
Andrea Soriano says while she just lives with her partner and dog, she’s concerned about the families who now have to move out and find a place to stay.
“There are families living here and we don’t have any information on what to do,” Soriano said. “I cannot afford to take time off work to do this. And they’re not helping us from the building, so I’m not sure.”
CHEK News reached out to Centurion Tuesday but didn’t hear back from the company or the public relations firm that’s handling media calls for RidgeView Place.
But in a notice given out to all the tenants, the company did provide a telephone number, 1-844-830-5736, and website that tenants can use to search for any available accommodation that the company holds in the Greater Victoria area.
The Tenant Resource Advisory Centre is The Tenant Resource Advisory Centre (TRAC) is also offering free legal information for tenants via their telephone hotline at 1-800-665-1185 or website, tenants.bc.ca.
Unresolved issues over structural safety
In a news conference Monday, Langford Mayor Scott Goodmanson said the city was notified April 17 about a second investigation into the 11-storey high-rise by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists. The governing body’s investigation found serious issues that may not have been resolved in the remediation work identified in the first round of issues.
“Needless to say, we’re incredibly frustrated and concerned to learn that there are ongoing issues with this building that should have been addressed when the issues were first serviced in 2019,” said Goodmanson, who called Monday’s developments an “evolving” situation with new information coming in by the hour.
On April 20, city officials told Centurion Property Associates, the current building owner, that it had an obligation to inform residents of the findings and obtain an assessment from a third-party structural engineer.
On April 23, that firm completed its visual inspection and concluded the structure was unsafe and strongly recommended it be evacuated.
The city has revoked the occupancy permit as a result.
“Had the City been aware that the building structure was unsafe or that the letters of assurance provided by the structural engineer could not be interpreted as assurances of compliance with the Building Code, the occupancy permit for the building, post-remediation would not have been issued,” the city said in a release.
The city said Centurion has notified residents of their options and will be ultimately responsible for ensuring they have the support they need, something Goodmanson repeatedly emphasized in the Monday news conference.
“Our staff is going to be working late into the night on this, and we’ll be working hand-in-hand with Centurion just to make sure that immediately people are taken care of over these first few nights,” he said. “And that is what we have to do first, then we’ll look at the long-term structural review of the building and just see where it is.”
Monday’s bombshell update comes approximately three years and four months after the first time residents of the then-Danbrook One building were strongly urged to leave over safety concerns.
WATCH: A timeline of issues at RidgeView Place, formerly known as Danbrook One
In December 2019, tenants were also urged to leave due to safety concerns with the building’s gravity system and lateral system, with the latter affecting how the building performs in a seismic event. The city also said there were a number of “non-complaint code issues.”
An investigation committee determined in 2022 that the structural engineer hired to design the building was not qualified to do the work, saying it did not meet the standards of a professional engineer in B.C.
Those who were displaced were offered a one-time $1,000 payment from the City of Langford to help with moving and related costs, but when asked whether officials would be doling out the same financial help, Goodmanson reiterated that it was Centurion’s responsibility to provide supports.
“We’re working with Centurion because this actually is their responsibility, and we’ve had good conversations and encouraging conversations with what they are setting up right now and what they’re putting forward,” he said.
“It should be noted that this is the building owner’s responsibility and they have stepped up and they’re working with that, and we’re working with them to ensure that no one is left out in the cold.”
After the 2019 concerns, the building was eventually evacuated and sat empty until last year, when it reopened under a new name — RidgeView Place.