Sharon Kempton says the walkway at her condo, seen here on April 12, has been a nightmare since she moved in and that calls to the Yukon Housing Corporation havenմ helped. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Senior says Yukon Housing won’t answer the call on maintenance beefs

‘One day I phoned them four times. It’s a hazard and a trial’

Sharon Kempton says the walkway at her condo has been a nightmare since she moved in and calls to the Yukon Housing Corporation haven’t helped.

Kempton, in her 70s, moved into the building at 1190 Front Street when it opened in 2016. She said the grassy footpath from her front door is frequently flooded with water in summer. This winter, with the constant freeze/thaw cycle, she says it’s gone back and forth between being a miniature ice rink and a swamp.

Kempton says that might not be a problem if she wasn’t so active, but she leaves her house at least three times daily to walk her dog, Sherlock. On more than one occasion this winter, she has tripped, slipped and fallen on the path.

She says she has called the YHC emergency line multiple times and been told her information would be passed along to a manger, who would get back to her.

“That’s basically crap,” Kempton told the News April 12.

“I got a hold of the so-called head honcho this morning and he said he hadn’t heard anything about it.”

Darren Stahl, director of capital development and maintenance with YHC, says he can’t speak about specific client cases (YHC said tenants are free to discuss circumstances, but would have to sign a waiver with YHC to allow the corporation to discuss those circumstances) but says he has no record of any tenants falling at the Front Street property.

Stahl says snow removal on sidewalks and in parking lots is done on an as-needed basis, depending on weather and snowfall. Typically though, if tenants phone in with specific concerns, Stahl says YHC deals with those concerns as one-offs.

He says that when tenants call in to complain, they typically reach the front desk. From there, if the call is maintenance-related, it’s re-routed to the maintenance department. From there, the call is handed off to the manager of that branch for follow-up. Stahl says that usually takes very little time, and he expects there would be a callback to the tenant within the day.

He says it’s unfortunate, but snow and ice in early spring is part of living in the Yukon.

“This type of thing isn’t typical just to Yukon Housing units, it’s throughout the territory,” he says.

Stahl says he would urge Kempton to continue phoning in and asking to speak with one of the maintenance representatives who might have answers, but Kempton says she did that every day for a week in April, and on and off for the last year.

“One day I phoned them four times,” she says. “It’s a hazard and a trial.”

She says she wants to see the irrigation system fixed, as she believes that’s what’s leading to her lawn flooding in summer. Failing that, she’d like the grass removed (at one point last summer, she says she was told by YHC that it was her responsibility to mow it, though Stahl said tenants are not responsible for landscaping, and that YHC has contractors in place to take care of this.) She’d also like paving stones placed in front of her place to make it easier to navigate in the winter.

“I mean this is ridiculous, I’m a senior for Christ’s sake,” she says. “I thought I’d move in here (from her own home, which required too much upkeep) and it would be all good. Relax a bit, not have too much stress. It’s been more stressful than where I had been. I’m really, really frustrated and I’m really exhausted.”

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

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