JAN 28TH     SINCE TIME BEGAN : salus populi suprema est lex - the right of the people is the supreme law : IN TRUTH WE TRUST     2017 ADE
Asbestos found during reno of James Bay building, tenants sent to Hotel
/ Times Colonist /
JANUARY 28, 2017 06:00 AM

Dozens of residents of a James Bay apartment building are being relocated to a downtown hotel after asbestos was found during renovations.
They’re being housed for free at the DoubleTree Hotel on Douglas Street, where they will receive breakfast each day.
Each tenant is also receiving a $100 grocery gift card and a $100 pre-paid credit card.
About 35 residents of Charter House rode the a shuttle bus Friday to the DoubleTree and others made their own way there. The tenants’ accommodation will be paid for until remediation work is finished, said Danny Roth, spokesman for Devon Properties and Starlight Group Property Holdings Inc., which manages the building.
The two tenants who first alerted management to construction-related dust in their units last week were relocated earlier, he said. There wasn’t a need to vacate the entire building at that time, Roth said.
“We needed to test the samples and wait for the results before determining the best course of action. The decision to relocate residents needed to be evidencebased, he said.
“Once the evidence - in this case, the results of our testing - was received, only then could we take action, and we immediately did so.”
Tenants must be relocated from the 73 apartment units by noon Sunday.
Most buildings of the Charter House era, built in the 1960s, likely contain asbestos. When undisturbed, it does not pose a problem, Roth said.
In this case, asbestos was encountered in the course of work on balconies, as well as the interior and exterior of the building.
Robert White, who has lived at Charter House for two years, said some action should have been taken sooner.
“My lungs are burning every day and my eyes are burning,” he said.
He said the building was an “awesome” place until renovations began several months ago.
“It’s been frustrating,” White said. “The entire summer I had plastic covering the windows, there was no air circulation in my suite.”
He said it has been tough because he is self-employed and works from home.
Tenants received letters Friday notifying them of the need to relocate.
“The decision to relocate tenants was made in consultation with [Island Health] and upon the advice of our environmental consultants after lab results were received by management on Jan. 27, suggesting that isolated areas within the building had dust which contained elevated asbestos levels,” the company said in a statement.
“Further testing and remediation of the property can only begin once the building has been fully vacated.
“While we recognize the inconvenience and disruption the relocation will cause our residents, their safety and well-being is our primary concern and so we have taken the difficult, but necessary step to relocate all tenants.”
It’s the first time the company has ever relocated a building full of tenants, Roth said.
The company is also footing the bill for extra charges for parking and pet accommodation.

© Copyright Times Colonist