Kensington Manor residents angry about moving from evacuated apartment complex
After hours of delays and frustration, only one floor of the apartment complex has been evacuated and all tenants are told to be gone by December 13
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When James Watkins made it home after work at 2 a.m. on Wednesday morning, he went to pull into his parking spot but found he was locked out of the underground.
When he arrived at the door, he found a notice on the door saying all residents had to be gone by Dec. 13.
“They don’t understand the emotional impact this is having on people,” he said. “They think then can just steamroll over people.”
Watkins, along with all other residents of the northwest Kensington Manor apartment building, was evacuated two weeks ago after it was determined to be structurally unsound. Tenants were told by National Equity that they could return at 6 a.m. to collect their belongings but were left outside.
Wayne Brown, the City’s safety response unit coordinator, said the engineer on site wasn't happy with the shoring, which meant the 6 a.m. re-entry promised to residents by the property manager was delayed until 11:30 a.m.
"We had a safety codes officer on site last night and they worked till fairly late, they did do their very best," said Brown. "Even this morning there was a shot at 6 a.m., but again there were issues."
He said it was up to the property manager to relay information about when they could come into the building to gather their belongings.
Property manager Don Lowe responded to requests by email saying, “to say we’ve had our ups and downs today would be an understatement.”
As of 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Lowe said only two units on the top floor remain.
Day by day, floor by floor, the building will now allow residents to pack their lives into boxes and find a new home – but Watkins and his neighbours are angry.
Micah Lukasewich can’t move out of his home until tomorrow, and said the situation they’ve been put in is “ridiculous.”
“I believe, and a couple others believe, that this is a ‘demo-viction,’” he said. “The cheapest possible way to get these people out of here and build condos.”
He said he’s been in contact with other residents and have been seeking help from Calgary lawyers.
“We’re unified now, and were strong,” said Lukasewich. “It just doesn’t feel like it’s in our favour.”