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Residents begin moving out of condemned Oliver apartment building
Tenants that have been forced to move from an Oliver apartment building because of structural damage are doing the best they can to get by.
It was in June that residents in the 43 unit building Park Place found out from a report from their engineers that the building they described as “beautiful” was riddled with structural damage from an earthquake. The residents found out they would have to move all of their possessions and find a new place to live by Aug. 15.
Linda Gergely said on Thursday she is one of about eight units occupied in Park Place, her moving date is next week. She, along with many others in the building, are left with an uncertainty of when they will come back to their homes, if ever.
“Everyone has found a place to live, so that is excellent. We are hoping the building can be saved and we will be able to come back home,” said Gergely, who bought her unit just over a year ago. “It is up to the insurance company now. They have commissioned their own engineers to do a report so we are waiting on that and they were here on-site last week. Our engineers filed a report already stating the most probable cause is earthquake.”
Park Place sits about 100-feet from a fault line and residents said on the morning of Nov. 18, 2011 a 4.6 magnitude earthquake destabilized the building. The damage did not show until recent maintenance complaints began to pile up.
Many of the residents have been able to stay within the community, whether that is with friends, family, renting or moving to senior assisted living centres. A few of the residents had no other option but to move outside of the community to find a place they can live, including one woman who moved to Quebec.
Gergely is one of the residents who found a place to rent within Oliver, she like many others in Park Place will have to juggle paying their mortgage for their Park Place home and now monthly rent.
“The plan was to live in Park Place until I couldn’t live on my own anymore, as it was for many of the residents. For me it has been tough because I still have to pay the mortgage, not everyone that lives here is in the same situation. We all just have to do what we can. I have been considering going back to work. I don’t think I have a choice really,” said Gergely.
Gergely said throughout the uncertainty and cloud hanging over the residents, the community has rallied around them. Work party’s were organized to help with moving logistics for residents who needed it. A fundraiser was also held at the Wolf Den at Nk’Mip Canyon Desert Golf Course. They provided dinner and everything they raised through tickets and beverages, along with a silent auction donated from local business and individuals was donated to residents from Park Place in need.
“This community is so good when it comes to helping its’ residents. I want to say thank you to anyone who has helped out in any way,” said Gergely. “We want to thank everyone who has been so kind in helping us.”
Beth Garish, who is one of many who helped organize the fundraiser, said they raised about $7,500 and churches and various organizations bumped that up to a total of $13,000. That money is going to be distributed to those in need from Park Place within the next week through an registered local charity called Churches That Care. Another fundraiser is being contemplated for the fall.
“There are some residents who will have ongoing financial challenges and in some cases they are quite severe, because of the mortgages, strata payments, now rent and they are on very limited income as many are seniors,” said Garish.
An account has been set up at the Valley First Credit Union in Oliver under the name Churches That Care, donations will be accepted through that account. Tax receipts will also be issued.