Quesnel residents living at the Willow Inn are fed up after being without hot water since late February.
Tenants said they’ve been forced to share a single shower located in the office building of the former Front Street motel.
Some who live at the 20-unit building are frustrated, and are looking for answers.
“Since then they’ve said — it’s going to be hooked up on Monday, it’s going to be hooked up on Tuesday, and then the contractor is coming,” Willow Inn tenant Claudia Petten said.
Laurel Cox has been working as an agent for management to secure a hot water tank. She said she’s been given the run-around by local businesses, and has now secured a solution from Williams Lake instead of Quesnel.
The City of Quesnel requires all landlords to maintain minimum standards inside dwellings, including providing hot water. Any person who does not do so could be subject to a fine between $50 to $500 per day.
“Every hand basin, bathtub shower and sink shall have an adequate supply of of hot and cold running water and every toilet and toilet tank shall have an adequate supply of running water,” Quesnel bylaw 1870 reads.
On Monday, March 15, the City confirmed it had delivered an ultimatum to the landlord.
“The City has served the property owner with an order to replace the tank immediately,” Quesnel chief building officer Kevin Hicks said in an email. “The manager of the property has been in communications with City Staff stating that the tank was being ordered and they would have it installed once it comes in. The property owner has been notified that fines for failure to comply with the order will begin Monday if there is no confirmed date of installation.”
Cox said they need a licensed gas fitter to complete the installation, but noted locals have been so busy they’ve been forced to look out of town. A letter from management was shared online on March 15 noting they’ve scheduled an installation for March 16.
“I got one place to come in only because they had a cancellation,” Cox said. “They would have to order a tank in. That was going to be three-and-a-half weeks to get the tank in.”
Tenants claim the inability to get a contractor to do the work isn’t related to parts or shortages.
“The contractor said ‘we’re not stepping foot over there because they owe us money,’” Petten said, recalling a conversation with a local contractor.
Cox said the lack of a fix has to do with availability.
“I can’t grab these people by the throat, drag them in, and say ‘fix it,’” Cox said. “It’s illegal apparently.”
Tensions between management and tenants have been high. Videos of shouting matches between Cox and some tenants have been shared online.
“I can’t win no matter what I do,” Cox said. “I have been in tears. The nasty things that are being said of me, when all I’m trying to do is get hot water for these people.”
Both management and tenants are at their wits end, while Cox noted some of the longer-term residents at the building have been adapting.
“Like one of the ladies said — ‘do they not know how to boil water?’” she said.
For other residents, they are just hoping the scheduled installation on March 15 isn’t another false start.
“Their blah blah blahs mean nothing,” Petten said.
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