Edmonton

Fort Saskatchewan condo residents 'kept in the dark' after evacuation

Five days after being evacuated from their building, dozens of condo residents in Fort Saskatchewan are not allowed to go home.

Engineers deemed the building at 9930 100th Avenue structurally unsafe Friday

The 16-year-old condominium building at 9930 100th Avenue in Fort Saskatchewan was evacuated on Friday. (Manuel Carrillos/CBC)

Five days after being evacuated from their building, dozens of condo residents in Fort Saskatchewan don't know when they'll be able to return home.

The City of Fort Saskatchewan, engineers and the Riverview Estates condo board met Tuesday afternoon, city officials told CBC News. 

Leo Urrutia, a spokesperson for the city, said engineers continue to assess the stability of the floor joists on the 16-year-old building. 

"It's still structurally unsafe as it was last Friday," Urrutia said. 

At about 8 a.m. Friday, residents were given 30 minutes to gather their essential belongings and leave the building. 

Officials made the decision Thursday evening to evacuate the building, prompting residents to question why the building management, condo board and city waited until morning to tell them. 

None of the condo owners or renters other than board members were invited to the meeting Tuesday. 

The lack of communication is appalling- Frank Garritsen

Denise Laverdiere has been living in the condo for more than four years. 

"To tell you the truth, right now I am very very angry," Laverdiere told CBC News Tuesday. "This has put so much stress on me."

Laverdiere, who's been staying with a friend in Fort Saskatchewan since Friday, was recently diagnosed with kidney cancer. 

"To be kicked out of my home at this time — the surgery is happening in the beginning of September — so you know I need to have some place to live."

Frank Garritsen owns the suite that Laverdiere rents on the second floor.

"Everyone's been kept in the dark," Garritsen said. 

Garritsen said he doesn't blame the city of Fort Saskatchewan, which assisted in organizing the evacuation on Friday.

"The lack of communication is appalling," he said "Condo board members dropped the ball massively. Like no communication whatsoever." 
Frank Garritsen, a condo owner, said he's heard nothing from the condo board or the property management company about structural problems. (Manuel Carrillos/CBC)

Neither the property manager, KDM Management Inc. nor the condo board responded to requests for comment from CBC News.

Laverdiere believes about 34 of the 44 available units in the building were occupied. 

The Red Cross said it helped nearly 30 people — about 18 households — with 72-hour emergency accommodation plus another 24 hours because it was a long weekend. 

Those residents stayed in hotels in Fort Saskatchewan, but it's not clear where they're staying now. 

The Red Cross and the city said they continue to help residents with social services, connecting them to appropriate resources for further assistance. 

A meeting for condo residents is slated for Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Dow Conference Centre. 

Garritsen and Laverdiere plan to be there.

"I need answers. I need to know if I can get my stuff out of there if I can get my stuff out when I can get it out."

Laverdiere also wants answers from the condo board.

"Why you guys have kept it such a secret? Why did you not warn us that there could be a problem?"

The building at 9932 100th Avenue is part of the same complex but was built two years earlier and doesn't appear to have the same structural problems, the city said. 

@natashariebe

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