Potential building collapse in Winnipeg forces out 250 tenants

The City of Winnipeg has issued an order to vacate an apartment building on Portage Avenue after it was found to be at risk of collapse, leaving many residents in a lurch. Morgan Modjeski reports.

It’s being called a “potential disaster”. An apartment block on Portage Avenue where officials fear it could collapse, forcing more than 200 to evacuate, many still moving out.

“It’s very stressful. We don’t know where we’re going right now,” said Kayla Dussome, a resident who was forced to move out. “We have a Uhaul, but we have nowhere to go basically right now.” 

Following a City of Winnipeg order to vacate, the scene at 2440 Portage was chaotic as people pulled moving trucks onto the building’s yard and emptied their suites.

The situation is devastating for Dussome, who says many have been left in the dark by the owners of the building: Ladco Company Ltd. 

Kayla Dussome has lived at 2440 Portage Avenue for roughly two years, speaks to CityNews on May 10, 2024, and says the order to vacate has brought it with it stress and confusion for many. (Photo Credit: James Rinn, CityNews)

“I feel like it’s very negligent on their part to not inform us beforehand what was going on …  it’s very worrisome. I live here with my partner and my two kids and obviously, we want everybody to be safe,” said Dussome. 

Jason Villeseche, who is still packing agrees, saying he and his roughly 250 neighbours need more information, as it’s word of mouth right now, saying it’s not just info. the owners should be offering. 

The numbers at Birchrood Terrace at 2440 Portage Ave can be seen against a backdrop of windows, all of which will soon be empty, as roughly 250 people have been forced to vacate the apartment. (Photo Credit: James Rinn, CityNews)

“It’s a massive problem,” explained Villeseche. “A representative from the owner should have been here, handing out cash for moving expenses, helping people make arrangements, providing information.” 

Requests to comment to Ladco went unanswered, but officials say they’ve been cooperating.

“This order was issued to prevent a potential disaster,” said Deputy Chief Jason Shaw, emergency management with the City of Winnipeg.

Mayor Scott Gillingham says his heart is with those affected, some now at the nearby Holiday Inn Airport West — transformed into a reception centre — the city set to support those affected in their time of need. 

Stressing the city will be there to support those affected, Mayor Scott Gillingham, speaks to reporters at City Hall on May 10, 2024, flanked by Deputy Chief of Emergency Management Jason Shaw, officials saying the order was needed to avoid a potential disaster. (Photo Credit: James Rinn, CityNews)

“This is a very emotional time, a very disruptive time,” said Gillingham.

“Can any of us put ourselves in their situation? Just imagine, what it would be like to get a knock on the door to say: ‘You’ve got to gather your belongings. You need to move. You need to leave.’ And so our city staff has the reception centre set up and we’re here to assist residents, and that reception centre, either in that location or another location, will be there as long as needed.” 

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