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Troubled Duncan-area apartment complex re-opens after structural issues fixed

Most residents of The Magdalena after deficiencies vacated most of the building in 2022
The owners of The Magdalena apartment complex in North Cowichan have announced that it is now safe, secure, and fully re-opened for tenants after experiencing structural deficiencies in 2022. (Citizen file photo)

After the completion of remediation and retrofitting work, the owners of a 64-unit rental community in North Cowichan, called The Magdalena have announced that it is now safe, secure, and fully re-opened for tenants following structural issues in 2022 that saw most of its tenants scrambling to find new homes.

In a press release, WestUrban Developments Ltd., the owner of the apartment complex on Crosland Place, said The Magdalena has undergone an extensive transformation with a team of dedicated professionals and engineers to make the necessary repairs and improvements.

“These efforts include structural enhancements and modernization of common areas to ensure The Magdalena meets Canada Building Code and seismic safety requirements,” the release said.


Sean Roy, CEO of WestUrban Developments, blamed a third-party engineering firm for the major problems with the building’s structural design and said they were taken aback, like many others in the community.

“Our top priority at WestUrban has always been the safety and satisfaction of our tenants, and the work carried out by our team at The Magdalena reflects these principles,” Roy said.

Terry Hoff, WestUrban’s COO, added that the company is grateful to the Municipality of North Cowichan for working with them throughout the process and, especially, for helping WestUrban ensure that as many residents of The Magdalena as possible were able to remain safely in the building without displacement during the upgrades.

“To our valued tenants, we thank you for your patience and understanding during the building-remediation process,” Hoff said.

“Your cooperation and support have been instrumental as we addressed structural challenges, ensuring a safe and enhanced living experience for all.”


In July, 2022, residents of The Magdalena were advised by WestUrban to find new places to live in a region with few vacancies after being told they’d likely soon be getting eviction notices from the building’s managers.

The five-storey complex was constructed over a nine-month period and completed in 2019, but just three years later, it was determined that the building had multiple structural deficiencies and other work that needed remediation in order for it to be safe long-term, and residents were advised that they must move out while the work was being done.

All but approximately 16 tenants eventually found other places to live before WestUrban announced in April, 2023, that the work to bring the building up to code would be done in phases, meaning that the remaining tenants could stay in their homes during the process to upgrade the facility.

North Cowichan Mayor Rob Douglas said he and the municipality had been working with WestUrban through the process to ensure the remediation work successfully brought the building up to code.

“We’re happy to have this work completed and it will provide some certainty to the tenants that are there,” Douglas said.

“We have a severe shortage of rental units in the region, with a vacancy rate of under one per cent. I see anything that frees up more rental units as a good thing.”

Prospective tenants at The Magdalena can now inquire about leasing opportunities by contacting the WestUrban Property Management’s leasing team at or call 778-346-9048.

Robert Barron

About the Author: Robert Barron

Since 2016, I've had had the pleasure of working with our dedicated staff and community in the Cowichan Valley.
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