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Too-tall garbage truck fails to squeeze under Vancouver Island apartment complex

‘Somebody didn’t pay attention’: 91-unit Sidney rental building damaged in collision
This was the aftermath after a vehicle hit the Oceanna building in downtown Sidney. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

A vehicle described as a “big garbage truck” caused significant damage to an apartment building in downtown Sidney in a collision some mistook for an earthquake.

That is according to John Smythe, manager 0f the Oceanna Building.

The incident happened on Monday when the truck tried to drive through the breezeway that connects Second Street with Third Street. The breezeway has an overhead clearance of 3.66 metres (just over 12 feet) for vehicles entering off Second Street. But this clearance drops to 3.28 metres (just over 10.7 feet) as it passes underneath the parts of the apartment building.

“Somebody didn’t pay attention and created thousands of dollars worth of damage,” said Smyth. The person living in the apartment above was not present at the time of the collision and the apartment remains habitable, he added. Other residents, however, were around during the collision, the first of its kind in the building’s history.

The Oceanna (which is six stories inclusive of a commercial ground floor) stands on the site of Sidney’s former fire hall and includes 91 rental apartments.

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Smythe heard of the collision when a tenant reported it to him.

“They thought it was an earthquake.”

Smythe said it is not clear whether the driver of the vehicle will face any charges and noted the RCMP is investigating. He was unsure of how long repairs might take or when they can get underway.

Cpl. Duncan Ferguson of Sidney/North Saanich RCMP confirmed that the file is under investigation with no charges laid at this moment. That, however, does not mean there won’t be any in the future, he added. Police received the call about the incident at about 3:45 p.m. May 2.

Black Press Media has also reached out to the company that Smythe identified as the owner of the vehicle for confirmation and comment.

The breezeway remains closed in either direction at the site of the collision and drivers looking to park in the public parking lot next to the Oceanna building can only access it off Second Street.

The municipality said Monday in a statement it and the Oceanna building owner are both aware that the Third Street entrance to the public parking area has been damaged. “The public parking area can still be accessed from Second Street,” it said. “We do not have any further information at this time.”

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