The City of Langford is dipping into emergency funds for the first time to help residents who have been displaced from one of the tallest apartment building in the city.
On Dec. 20, Langford temporarily revoked occupancy of the 11-storey Danbrook One building in the downtown core after receiving a report that confirmed structural and safety concerns that could put tenants at risk.
According to the City, tenants were “strongly advised” to relocate and were offered temporary hotel accommodation paid for by Langford. The City is also offering to relocate tenants permanently to comparable apartments if they decide to move out.
“This is ongoing and engineers are working very hard to come up with a solution and fix the problem but right now we are suggesting everybody should move out,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young at a Dec. 20 news conference.
Young said the City has a $400,000 emergency fund that is being tapped into for the first time to help Danbrook One tenants.
He expects the City will spend about $50,000 to $60,000 for the residents. Temporary accommodation for residents will only be available until Jan. 3, 2020.
The City is also providing a list of potential alternative long-term rental accommodations for tenants and will assist with moving expenses and covering the difference in rent amounts in comparable units.
A GoFundMe page set up to help cover out-of-pocket expenses such as meals and gas raised more than $41,000 as of Dec. 24. Using those funds, the City is giving tenants access to a $200 prepaid credit card – one card per unit – for incidentals.
On Dec. 24, workers in hard hats and vests were seen at the building site. Design Build Services of Langford constructed the Danbrook One tower and is behind six other buildings in Langford including Tallwood 1, a first-of-its-kind, mixed-use residential and commercial, 12-storey, mass timber constructed tower.
The Danbrook One is owned by Centurion Property Management, a company that owns four other buildings in Langford.
On Dec. 20, the City of Langford said it received a report from the internationally recognized engineering firm WSP Global Inc. that recommends immediate installation of temporary support to the building. A summary of the report from WSP said issues with the building are related to the gravity system and the seismic force resisting system.
WSP was hired by the City of Langford after Engineering and Geoscientists BC notified the City that one of its members was being investigated for possible building code violations pertaining to the Danbrook One property.
In order to approve moving residents back into the building, Young said the City of Langford needs two signatures from independent engineers.
– With files from Aaron Guillen