British Columbia

Shaken, and now stirred, Kelowna resident worries about damage from construction-site vibrations

The Brooklyn by Mission Group is a 25-storey concrete tower requiring nearly 200 piles for support. This is causing lots of shaking throughout the neighbourhood as a crane-mounted vibratory hammer pushes massive metal cylinders into the ground. 

Company building nearby highrise says vibrations are within acceptable levels

Kelowna, B.C., resident Jim Lee is worried that the vibrations coming from the construction site, pictured, will create maintenance issues in his apartment building. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

A construction technique that vibrates piles into the ground is creating concern around a downtown condo development on Bernard Avenue in Kelowna.

The Brooklyn by Mission Group is a 25-storey concrete tower that requires nearly 200 piles to provide foundational support. 

A crane-mounted pile driver vibrating massive cylinders into the ground is causing lots of shaking throughout the area which the developer says is being closely monitored.

"You can feel the vibrations," said resident Jim Lee. "I mean you're not sitting here getting your teeth shaken out or anything like that, but there is a constant vibration."

Shaking coffee

Lee owns an apartment in a co-op building about 50 metres from the construction site.

He took a striking video earlier this week of his coffee jumping around in a cup due to the vibrations.

"I looked in [the cup], and it just looked like it was boiling in there," Lee told CBC's Brady Strachan.

Lee is concerned about whether that's hurting the structure of his 35-year-old apartment building.

"You know it's going to have an effect on that, but it's hard to measure," he said. "The big deal from my point of view is the urgency of getting it sorted out now."

The retired electrical contractor says problems caused by the vibrations could emerge after construction has wrapped and it will be hard to prove what caused them.  

Lee said he sent a letter to the mayor's office Wednesday morning outlining his concerns.

"I'd like to see them stop this until we can resolve the issues ... [and] come to an agreement as to how it's going to be handled."

Vibration within allowed range, says developer

Vice-president of construction with the Mission Group, Dan Green, said the company employs a geotechnical engineer and is measuring vibrations throughout the day.

"Everything is below the ranges required," said Green. "We are monitoring during the whole process and assessing any possible damages that may occur as a result of this."

Developers of The Brooklyn highrise in downtown Kelowna expect to have 100 piles in the ground by the end of this week. They will put in about 200 piles in total. (Brady Strachan/CBC )

The company is in discussions with the city and has tried to keep residents informed, he said. They plan to meet with Lee over his concerns.

"Unfortunately, we have to pile as we go up. The loads on the ground are significant, especially when we go to concrete," said Green.

"Unfortunately, this process is obtrusive compared to the normal neighbourhood flow and sound and traffic. We appreciate that it is an inconvenience and we'll definitely look after our neighbours."

They hope to finish lowering piles in three-and-a-half weeks.

The Brooklyn by Mission Group is a 25-storey concrete tower requires nearly 200 piles to provide foundational support. This is causing lots of shaking throughout the area as a crane mounted pile driver vibrates massive metal cylinders into the ground.  6:51

With files from Brady Strachan and Daybreak South

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