Broken SRO elevator forces seniors onto stairs
Published Wednesday, November 21, 2012 5:41PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 21, 2012 7:39PM PST
Low-income seniors at an eight-storey Vancouver housing complex want to know why it’s taken more than two months to fix their broken elevator.
Delores Williams lives at the Hutchinson Block, a single-room occupancy building on West Pender Street. Ever since mid-September, she’s been forced to go up and down six flights of stairs just to pick up her daily dose of medication.
“It’s hard, especially when you have arthritis or asthma,” Williams said. “I feel sorry for the elderly people that live on the eighth floor. I know one guy, it takes him 45 minutes to get home.”
The elevator has been down since Sept. 19, when a fire at an adjacent suite activated the building’s sprinklers and flooded the shaft.
Building manager Janice Abbott, of the Atria Women’s Resource Society, said her company has been trying to have the elevator repaired ever since, to no avail.
“We have a contract with an elevator maintenance company, we have been talking to them probably every second day, maybe even more often than that, trying to get them in,” Abbott said.
She said the service company, Kone, has promised to have the elevator fixed multiple times, but never followed through.
“Clearly the Hutchinson Block is not one of their priorities,” Abbott said. “They will make promises to come and then not show up, we’ve had numerous dates where they said they’d be there… and then they come and they say, oh, we found that we need these other parts, or the cables are corroded. It’s always something.”
The most recent promise was to have the lift fixed by last Thursday. After the deadline passed, Kone sent an email saying it is “incredibly difficult to pinpoint a date.”
Abbott said the situation is not unique, and that SRO hotels and low-income buildings in the Downtown Eastside always have problems receiving timely service.
CTV News contacted the local office of Kone, but were directed to the headquarters in Ontario.
On Wednesday afternoon, company president Kelly Leitch issued an email statement promising the final repairs will begin next week.
“Our Vancouver service branch is working closely with the building owner, Atira, to complete all remaining repairs from the extensive water damage. Much of the work has been completed,” Leitch said.
The company said it expects the elevator to be back up and running by the end of next week.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Maria Weisgarber