Housing responds to concerns about Ponderosa maintenance delays

Student Housing has sent out an email to all Ponderosa Commons residents addressing their role in the new residence’s ongoing maintenance issues.

Andrew Parr, managing director of Student Housing and Hospitality Services (SHHS), spoke to The Ubyssey about his apology in the email on behalf of the SHHS staff, in addition to commenting on the recent article on Ponderosa maintenance concerns.

The article "brought to light that [SHHS was] under-communicating with the students at Ponderosa,” said Parr.

According to Parr, maintenance concerns are a regular issue at UBC residences that SHHS will be focusing to better address.

“When you’re operating the number of buildings we’re operating -- almost 10,000 beds—there’s going to be maintenance issues that arise, [but] we’ve committed to ensuring that we’re communicating on a more consistent and regular basis with students,” he said.

Parr also mentioned that one reason for the delayed response to maintenance issues such as broken elevators and entrances are mainly due to the slow service of third party operators that provide the parts and materials necessary for proper repair.

The email, sent out by both Parr and Amy Stewart, the residence life manager of SHHS, clarified the status of those ongoing maintenance issues.

“The good news is, a new elevator motor has arrived, work has begun and we are hopeful repairs will be completed next week,” said Parr in the email. “We are also in the process of addressing inconsistencies with house door entry performance at Ponderosa Commons but, again due to delivery delays of required parts, we anticipate this work will not be complete until early March.”

According to Parr, it is not uncommon for new buildings like Ponderosa to experience a transitional period of a series of deficiencies, but he assures all students that the initial construction-related issues are being corrected and that the building is safe.

When asked about student complaints on the quality of service received from SHHS with respect to the amount they pay to live in Ponderosa, Parr suggested that the pricing structure comes instead from “the newness of the facility, the proximity of the facility to the campus core and the amenities that are available in that venue.”

Parr emphasized the commitment of the SHHS to improve ultimately good service and communication.

“When I hear articles like this, it disturbs me -- not because it’s an unfair article,” said Parr. “It disturbs me because we’ve dropped the ball a little bit, and [shows us] what we need to do to be a little better with that; that’s very much embedded in our vision and our goals for students that reside with us. It’s communication, and actually, as a result of the article, bringing a sort of heightened awareness that we need to take a more proactive position in corrective action as well.”