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Fact Check: Victoria Towers

Posted on 21 December 2011

In today’s issue of the Prince George Citizen, they provide an update on work being done by the Red Cross for displaced residents of the Victoria Towers apartment building that was evacuated after a fire November 3. In it, they talk to Lisa Anne Pierce, the Red Cross’ provincial manager of disaster assistance. From the article:

“Pierce said she’s also heard from tenants that the building’s owner has given tenants back their November rent and their damage deposits.”

Since I’ve done quite a bit of work on the Victoria Towers story for CBC, I was interested in this development, especially since as of last week none of my contacts among the ex-tenants had heard anything about getting that money back. So I called up Lisa Anne Pierce. She told me that she hadn’t actually heard from any residents, but she had heard from the building manager that the ball was rolling. She suggested I follow up with someone who was working directly with clients. I did, and she said she had not heard from the clients that they were getting money back.

I’m not blaming the Citizen or the Red Cross for this. It is far more likely that it was a misunderstanding, a mishearing, or a misprint than anything else. It happens. Everyone’s human. It is not a reflection on the overall work that either of these organizations do, organizations that I’m glad exist. But given that the building owners have been to court over 50 times for failing to pay money they were supposed to pay to tenants and contractors and are being taken to court by the city of Vancouver for failing to do what they were supposed to do, I would hesitate to report on that money being returned until it is actually, physically, in the possession of the tenants.


Filed under: Best Of, Prince George

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