Birchwood Terrace sits vacant after 250 residents forced to evacuate

Residents of Winnipeg's Birchwood Terrace remain in a state of shock, demanding answers after they were evacuated from their homes with just 12 hours notice. Not knowing when if ever they will be allowed to return. Kurt Black reports.

What was once the home to nearly 250 Winnipeg residents, Birchwood Terrace now sits vacant, after a recent inspection uncovered severe deterioration in several locations.

Creating a nightmare situation for those living in the 62-year-old building, not knowing when if at all they will be able to return to their homes.

“It didn’t feel real. I kept saying to mom when are we going to wake up from this nightmare,” said Shyanne Carriere, a resident at Birchwood Terrace.

Carriere and her mother Mala were one of the countless families left scrambling Thursday night, after being told they needed to be out by 8 a.m. Friday. After 16 of the complex’s 18 basement column supports were discovered in a severe state of deterioration. 

RELATED: Potential building collapse in Winnipeg forces out 250 tenants

“We had no idea what was going on in the basement so to hear about it all of a sudden, where we have lived for two years is unsafe, that isn’t fair,” said Shyanne.

Mala adding, “They must’ve known something, and it should have been brought to the attention of the people. I mean we deserve that respect.”

In the meantime, Mala and Shyanne have moved in with her older daughter, who has a two-bedroom apartment, but also two kids of her own. A less than ideal situation for the devoted single mother.

“I pride myself on taking care of my children, and I feel like I am failing cause I can’t do that right now.  She’s in university and I want to give her a place where she can continue her studies and to give her the home she has always had and I have worked so hard for,” said Mala Carriere.

Only adding to their frustration, a perceived lack of empathy during Friday’s emergency meeting was highlighted by a poor choice of words Derek Mizak, president of engineering firm Crosier Kilgour.

“That’s all I got out of that rushed emergency meeting was, this is what you are getting and we are washing our hands of it,” explained Eric Booker, a resident at Birchwood Terrace.

“How come we are hearing about this now, when they have been working on this for two months?”

Booker and his wife called Birchwood Terrace home for the past seven years, but are now separated from all their belongings which remain in their apartment not knowing if they will ever see them again.

“I left thousands of dollars of furniture, electronics like TVs and such, and a coffee table that was very sentimental to my wife, cause it was built for our wedding 32 years ago by her grandfather,” said Booker.

For Booker amongst all the questions that remain unanswered, the one that bothers him the most is if this could happen here, what does that mean for the rest of the buildings owned by Ladco.

“I noticed a lot of the buildings are similar age, what are those structures like in those buildings owned by this company, have they been inspected properly,” said Booker.

CityNews reached out the owner of the building, but our calls were not returned.

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