'You just have nothing': B.C. seniors paying for condos where they can't live
Published Saturday, February 20, 2016 1:10PM EST
For three years, Thelma Mazzei's condo in Oliver, B.C. has stood empty.
Along with the other residents of her 43-unit building, Mazzei evacuated her home in 2013.
The move came two years after a minor earthquake in the area caused cracks in the floors and walls. The damage prompted an engineer's report, which suggested that the entire building should be vacated.
On the advice of her strata, Mazzei and her neighbours left their homes in the Park Place condo complex.
The residents say they initially hoped their insurance would step in and pay for upgrades in the building, but three years later, the condos remain empty.
In that time, some of the elderly residents have died, unable to enjoy what was meant to be their final home.
Others continue to pay mortgages on condos they aren't able to live in.
"In all my life, this is the worst thing that has ever happened to me," Mazzei told CTV Vancouver.
After pouring their savings into purchasing and renovating the units, some residents say they've been left struggling to afford rent in another location.
"I got this and paid for it in cash with all my life savings," Bharbara Klassen, a former resident said.
Jocye Welsh, another former resident, added, "It really takes its toll, mentally and physically. You just have nothing."
The residents say they worry it was a mistake to agree to leave the building in the first place. And they fear that, now, they might never be able to return.
With files from CTV Vancouver