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West End residents fear new construction is damaging their aging building

Cracks stir fears that Vancouver apartment building could collapse
Thu, Aug 3: Tenants of a West End apartment building are being advised to move out, now that large cracks have appeared in the walls. Ted Chernecki explains what some residents feel is to blame.

Tenants of a West End apartment building are being advised to move out.

The warning comes after large cracks were noticed about six weeks ago on the walls of the Aldon Apartments, an aging three-storey building on Pendrell Street.

Some residents believe new construction next door may be to blame.

“The crack in the chimney was one of the first things that was noted by the construction company across the way,” tenant Norman Frizzle said.

READ MORE: West End residents fight against “unfair” rent increases

Beside Frizzle’s building is a large hole, which is being dug to accommodate parking for a 22-storey high-rise that’s set to be completed by 2018.

In fact the whole area is slated for high-rise densification making any three-storey wood frame building obsolete and in the way.

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Frizzle said all the cracks in the building are new and some tenants claim there are new cracks everyday.

A letter was sent recently advising tenants to find other accommodation as soon as possible. It read in part:

“This matter has brought to us [sic] for a very much concern [sic] as any injuries of Person cannot be tolerated [sic]. Under this circumstance, as the owner of the building, for all tenants safety we strongly recommended [sic] that you should find another accommodation as soon as possible. The building maybe [sic] collapse if the next door construction extraction go [sic] deeper.”

“The residents here at this building are very concerned,” NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert said.

READ MORE: Tenants of West End apartment building allege harassment from landlord

“They have seen cracks that they say weren’t there before and they received a letter from their landlord saying get out because the building could collapse. So they wonder is the building safe or they wonder, is this just being used to try to push them out of their suites so that a higher rent could be charged?”

Vancouver city inspectors returned to the building on Thursday but stood by their previous conclusion that the cracks were pre-existing. But they did suggest to the owner that he hire an engineer to determine if the building is still sound.

~ with files from Ted Chernecki