Home News by Region Langford Three days later: RidgeView Place occupancy permit crisis update

Three days later: RidgeView Place occupancy permit crisis update

Insurance not covering the plight of renters.

mayor, scott goodmanson, langford
Langford Mayor Scott Goodmanson addressed media with an update about the RidgeView Place occupancy permit situation, April 27, 2023. [Zoom]

Thursday April 27, 2023 | LANGFORD, BC [Last updated April 30, 2023]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Three days after announcing that the occupancy permit for RidgeView Place at 2770 Claude Road was revoked, today Langford Mayor Scott Goodmanson once again called a media scrum to provide a further update.

Goodmanson spoke highly of prompt provincial support from Emergency Management and Climate Readiness Minister Bowinn Ma and Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon. Supports include temporary accommodations, food, and transportation to and from temporary short-term accommodation.

bowinn ma, emergency management
Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, encourages people to have emergency kits and grab-and-go bags, during April 13, 2023 info session.

A community navigator and additional staff have also been provided by the province.

Insurance is apparently not covering expenses:

Insurance is apparently not covering expenses for most if not all of the tenants. So the supports being provided are “to get people through the next short period”.

Some of the insurance companies mentioned by tenants include Square One and BCAA. Other local insurance companies in this area include Westland and Harbord.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says that tenants are “responsible for any damage the tenant may cause to any part of the building and for unintentional harm caused to others who live in or visit the property”.

But also that contents may be covered: “Contents insurance covers the cost to repair or replace, clothes and most household items. Even if you think your belongings have little value, the cost of replacing everything at once adds up.” says the Insurance Bureau of Canada. In their Tenant Insurance section, it says: “With all risks, all of your contents (except those specifically excluded) are covered.”

What seems not to be covered is relocation costs, loss of income, etc. in a situation such as sudden evacuation. It’s yet unclear whether fault of the structure of the building itself voids insurance coverage in any way. Island Social Trends will find out more.

Provincial comment:

“No matter the emergency, being evacuated can be stressful and our government is here to support communities in times of crisis,” said Minister Ma, who adds that her ministry is providing temporary supports to RidgeView Place residents.

She notes the supports are temporary “but will help people in the immediate term while the City of Langford explores next steps”.

Support at Langford city hall:

More information for impacted tenants of RidgeView Place — who on April 24 were asked to vacate the premises — is available online on the provincial website ess.gov.bc.ca.

Assistance is available in person as well, at City of Langford municipal hall, Room 101 (on the main floor) at 877 Goldstream Avenue from 12 noon to 9 pm today, as well as on Friday April 28 from 8 am to 9 pm, and on Saturday April 29 from 9 am to 5 pm.

Staff will be on-site assisting residents one-on-one to find and book hotels. Residents can also call 250-661-3270 or email the city at ridgeview@langford.ca for assistance.

ravi kahlon, housing minister
BC Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon introduced Homes for People, Apr 3, 2023 in Victoria. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Compassionate community:

Mayor Goodmanson spoke highly of “compassionate assistance support”, including the West Shore Developers Association stepping forward; meetings with Ron Coutre and Jim Hartshorne happened promptly and brainstorming was done to come up with ideas on how to help the impacted tenants.

City staff have also been working hard to help support the tenants and do the additional administrative work to deliver the supports.

“When systems break down it’s the community that rises up and protects people,” said Goodmanson today. He noted that local businesses have been offering various types of support.

“This is a tight-knit city that looks after one another,” said Goodmanson. He commended the development and business community for stepping up to help “at this critical time” which “shows the value of local partners who are invested in this community and who want to do things right”.

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Future of the building:

It is the obligation of the RidgeView Place building owner (Centurion) and structural engineer of record to ensure that authenticated engineering designs and schedules meet the professional standards of Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of the Province of BC (EGBC) and the BC Building Code.

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There is no indication of the timeline of further inspections, repairs or even possible demolition of the building, should it come to that.

Adjacent operations, including a daycare, have chosen not to operate near the RidgeView Place building for now.

Taxpayer support:

The deeper story is that tenant’s insurance doesn’t cover emergencies like this, the taxpayers do.

Either way — whether provincial support this time or the City last time through their reserve fund — taxpayers are paying for the shortfall of the building owner and perhaps also the approving engineer and perhaps also the EGBC.

Business support welcome:

Local businesses who wish to support the evacuated tenants may call City of Langford municipal hall at 250-478-7882. Donations, discounted services, or other fundraising efforts are welcomed and encouraged.

Donation distribution [this info added at 5 pm]:

The City is working actively with external agencies to discuss how to best collect and distribute donations and in-kind services to residents of RidgeView Place. Once a formalized process has been set up to equitably distribute the funds, the City will release more details, including where and how to make donations, and how donations will be distributed.

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===== RELATED:

Danbrook One, 2766 Claude Road, Langford
ARCHIVE PHOTO (Dec 19, 2019): The 11-storey Danbrook One concrete apartment building at 2766 Claude Road in Langford town centre. [Mary P Brooke / West Shore Voice News]
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