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Tenants still living in ‘dangerous’ Cardston motel shut down by AHS

Tenants still living in ‘dangerous’ Cardston motel shut down by AHS
WATCH ABOVE: A motel in Cardston is supposed to be shut down after a recent inspection by Alberta Health Services highlighted several major concerns. But as Emily Olsen reports, several people are still living there.

Several tenants are still living in a Cardston motel after Alberta Health Services found multiple health and safety violations at the site and ordered the business to shut down.

Health officials found at least five major issues at the Outpost Motel, including a cockroach infestation, no operational smoke alarms, mouldy carpets and missing doors.

Following the inspection, residents of the motel were ordered to leave the building on or before Feb. 3.

However, some of the residents said they were not aware of the health inspection nor the required evacuation date.

READ MORE: Company awarded $2M contract to review Alberta Health Services

One current tenant, 31-year-old Matthew Curly Rider, said he was told to leave the motel but wasn’t given a reason why.

“I called them, and they told me to stay here until I get a notice,” Curly Rider said.

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“But then I found out there was a health inspection that came, and I didn’t even know they came.”

Curly Rider said he is upset that he was not told his living space was deemed a health hazard.

He and his two-year-old son are now looking for a new place to live.

“I just hope I can find a place I can call home,” Curly Rider said.

The owners of the motel, Jason and Yolanda Toone of Fortress Developments Inc., could not be reached for any comment.

READ MORE: COMMENTARY: Time for a legitimate review of how AHS operates

Global News followed up with AHS, asking several questions about protocol for enforcing the evacuation of dangerous premises, and about the potential legal liability in the case of a fatal fire or another incident.

Late Wednesday afternoon, AHS responded with a statement.

“The first responsibility of Alberta Health Services is to always protect the health of Albertans, and we understand this is a difficult situation for these tenants,” the statement read.

“AHS attempts to work collaboratively with building owners and landlords to proactively address issues, before escalating to closures or other enforcement measures.

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“Environmental public health inspectors are empowered under the Public Health Act to ensure compliance with the act’s regulations. We always prefer collaboration with operators to protect the health of Albertans, however, prosecution is an option when collaborative efforts fail. AHS continues to work with this operator, who has been very co-operative, to address concerns and ensure there are no permanent residents within the facility. As the work is ongoing, the order remains in place.”

AHS has not specified how they intend to enforce the order moving forward.

Cardston RCMP told Global News they have not been contacted by AHS to enforce the order to vacate the motel.