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Okanagan College opens its doors to Hadgraft Wilson Place evacuees

Okanagan College is offering up its recently completed student residence to evacuees of Hadgraft Wilson Place in downtown Kelowna.

On Mar. 31, the city’s fire chief said residents were being evacuated due safety concerns raised by the construction at the nearby UBCO construction site on Doyle Avenue.

Eighty four people were given until 6 pm on April 2 to gather their belongings and vacate the building.

All evacuated residents will soon temporarily move into a new residence building at Okanagan College, says a news release.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia </who> Hadgraft Wilson Place just opened in June 2023 and 84 residents were forced to evacuate on April 2, 2024.

According to release, the Pathways Abilities Society is in the process of finalizing a lease with Okanagan College, which will run until mid-August.

“Our residents have become a tight-knit community in the past year and this opportunity allows them to maintain the support of their friends and neighbours,” said Charisse Daley, Executive Director of Pathways Ability Society.

“Providing some stability about their next few months and having the amenities of homes will hopefully make things easier while they wait for the remediation of our building and next steps.”

The release says all residents will be given the opportunity to move into three floors of the new student housing building at OC’s Kelowna campus on KLO Road.

Construction on the building was completed at the end of March, shortly before Hadgraft Wilson Place was evacuated.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia </who> The new student housing building at OC.

The building will be able to house 216 student beds.

According to the news release, there is a mix of individual rooms and common spaces as well as some suites which will be “matched to the residents based on their unique needs.”

“This has truly been a collaborative community effort to find a solution for the displaced residents at Hadgraft Wilson Place,” said Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas.

“City staff have been working diligently alongside Pathways, BC Housing and local developers to find options and alternatives for the residents, who have experienced so much during this trying time. We want to ensure this process continues to be handled with sensitivity, safety, and compassion.”

The news release says that is expected to be “several months” before residents of Hadgraft Place can return home following the most recent geotechnical report.

The release says Pathways and its partner will continue to work to find longer term solutions for the residents starting in mid-August after the lease with Okanagan College ends.

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