Saskatoon’s City Centre Inn and Suites is officially closed after the fire department deemed the closure necessary due to unsafe and unsanitary living conditions.
Robert Deimling and his partner Danisha Clarke say they’ve lived in those conditions since August.
“Piss-poor. Black mould, mice, cockroaches, gangsters,” displaced resident Robert Deimling said of the conditions.
“I wouldn’t recommend my worst enemy to live here unless I really wanted them dead.”
They say it’s not safe — in fact, Saskatoon police said someone was stabbed there early Thursday morning and they’ve been called to the hotel 495 times this year.
The Saskatoon Fire Department said hazards include locked exit doors, stairs at risk of collapsing, a failure to maintain fire alarm systems and more.
Motel occupants were told they had to evacuate with a notice from the fire department on the door.
More than 150 residents had one day to pack up their belongings and leave.
The Saskatoon Tribal Council is one of the community agencies responding and its leader is indignant that people were living in such unsanitary conditions.
“How can landlords get away with the stuff? How can they allow people to live in sewage … that are coming up through the toilets?” Tribal Chief Mark Arcand said.
Arcand said someone needs to be held accountable for the violations.
Global News tried multiple times to speak with hotel owner John Pontes but was told he was too busy.
The fire department said the owner has the opportunity to fix the place up.
“The actual timeline of the closure is actually within his control, so as soon as he complies and he rectifies all the deficiencies, that’s when he can reopen,” assistant fire chief Yvonne Raymer said.
The Saskatchewan Social Services Ministry said it is working with numerous community partners to help ensure City Centre residents are safe and supported throughout this transition.
“It’s important to note that income assistance clients, like all other citizens, decide where they will reside. They may use their income assistance benefits to support their choice. The Ministry of Social Services does not place any clients in need of shelter in the City Centre Inn and Suites,” read a statement from the ministry.
“Due to the flow of tenants in and out of the property, it’s difficult to note the exact number of current tenants currently in receipt of income assistance. We anticipate most or all of the impacted individuals will require support from all of us to successfully transition to different, safer accommodations in the community.”
Organizations involved are going to start finding displaced residents long-term housing next week.