‘Fixed’ Ponderosa elevator gets stuck, “free falls” one floor, says resident

Ponderosa residents have put up with a lot ever since the building opened, but the events of the past few days may be the icing on the cake.

After dealing with a broken elevator and lacklustre SHHS response for months, the elevator in the Arbutus Building of the complex was finally reported fixed this weekend. The residents' glee (which was expressed by party decorations inside the renewed elevator) was short-lived, however, as on Sunday evening the elevator "free fell," according to a passenger.

One of the occupants, a Ponderosa resident, posted about her experience on the complex's Facebook group.

"I just got stuck in the elevator that just got fixed. The elevator reached the 16th floor and it was about to open and instead it fell an entire floor, free fall, to the 15th floor. Somehow the door opened and we were able to rush out of the elevator."

Jake Mullan, president of the Ponderosa Commons Residence Association, said that campus officials were notified several times over the course of the past weekend that the "fixed" elevator was still having problems.

"The day after it was fixed... housekeeping staff told us that the elevator had been acting up: stopping randomly, then starting to move again, going to random floors -- and they said if we heard any more incidents to contact the front desk immediately," Mullan said. "Another resident contacted me yesterday saying that she was riding the elevator, and it dropped or shook -- she wasn't exactly sure. Made a ton of noise. I told her to report it to the front desk, as that's what I was advised to do and she had more info."

In a public Facebook post, Mullan expressed his frustration with SHHS and their lack of discourse and response to student resident concerns.

"Dear UBC Student Housing,

I have lost faith in you. It took a year and a half of working with you, but it finally happened... I got pulled into a meeting for calling your organization a "joke" this past fall. I was wrong. SHHS isn't a joke - You think Ponderosa Commons residents are a joke. We've been telling you for a year and a half that this building is broken, and yet what I've been hearing is that you think I have fuelled a community of complainers," reads an excerpt of the letter.

The elevator was blocked off last night, though still operational, and the tape was removed for a time today and several residents used it. As of 2:00 p.m. the elevator has been turned off.

Amy Stewart, the Residence Life Manager for Ponderosa, sent out a brief email to residents saying that "appropriate professionals have been contacted to investigate and address the problem." Other than that, no further statement from UBC officials has been given regarding the incident or the ongoing problems with the residence.

Update: Additional quotation marks were added to the headline and body text to further clarify that this description was provided by a passenger.

Update two: Amy Stewart sent out a followup email to Ponderosa residents later today, saying that "Last night there was an incident with one of the elevators in Arbutus House. Student Housing and Hospitality Services (SHHS) staff attended and placed the elevator out of service immediately" and that they are "working diligently to have this issue resolved."